A Certified Fake

Author: Jennifer Hudson, PMP

There are many types of professional certifications out there, I hold my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). To qualify for testing on this certification you must meet rigorous practitioner requirements and/ or educational requirements. They do audit their applications, approximately 10%, and I was only of the lucky few who got audited. I was prepared and had reached out to my former manager’s since I was worried about being audited and I passed the audit.

That all sounds very prolific and like a solid system for vetting candidates to hold this certification. However, I cannot tell you how many PMP bearing professionals have less than adequate knowledge or practice in the field. So, it would seem to me that anyone with a good narrative and a willingness to fudge the truth have a 90% chance of getting to the exam without properly being vetted.

This bothers me, because it devalues the certification and gives inexperienced project manager’s a false sense of qualifications to engage in projects outside of their qualifications. I have been fortunate to work in a great company, with a fantastic project management office that provided superior training, mentoring, and governance. I also completed two separate college courses on project management where I completed the full life cycle of projects.

In my humble opinion, I would offer two solutions to this; first, the PMI needs to have more rigorous vetting processes to bring back the value of the certification; and two, organizations should encourage their employees to provide proof of or partake in an actual project management class that facilitates an end-to-end project using a PM tool. Practicing is the best way to learn and build your skill set and frankly being dishonest on an application to attain a certification reflects poorly on a person’s integrity.


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