Why does a company need a Certified project manager? What difference does it make to be a Certified project manager? How does one become a Certified project manager? We will explain everything about becoming a Certified project manager in this article.
Who is a Certified project manager?
Starting from the basics: let us see who is a Certified project manager. A project manager who is certified by a recognized body or an institution that is authorized to provide the certification.
Which are the certification bodies?
There are quite a few certification bodies across the world. While some are specific to a region, others like PMI are global bodies.
Project Management Institute (PMI):
The global organization advocating project management, PMI provides certification in various aspects related to projects. If you are a novice, you can go for Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).
You want to be a Certified project manager and you are you experienced; then, go for the gold standard PMP certification from PMI. PMI also provides PMI-ACP- which makes you an Agile Certified Project Manager.
International Project Management Association (IPMA):
IPMA has a Council of Delegates, an Executive Board, several Management Boards that are from various parts of the globe. It has partnerships with many reputed organizations such as International Standardization Organization (ISO), International Centre for Complex Project Management, Asia-Pacific Federation of Project Management (APFPM), etc.
If you are looking for certifications from IPMA, you can opt for Level D which is also called ‘Certified Project Management Associate’ or Certified Project Manager (CPM) or level C. Do you have substantial experience and want to become a certified project manager? Then, go for level B – Certified Senior Project Manager, or still higher up? Target the Level A to become a Certified Project Director!
PRINCE 2: PRojects IN Controlled Environments:
Are you working in UK, Australia or projects aligned to Government of UK policies? Then, you can become a PRINCE 2 certified project manager. Here too, you can choose the levels from ‘Foundation’ to Practitioner depending on the experience you have in managing projects.
What about Scrum Alliance?
Scrum methodology is being advocated for complex projects where quick turnaround is needed in a collaborated environment. The equivalent of a certified project manager in this agile methodology is Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) which ultimately leads you to Certified Scrum Professional(CSP).
What are the benefits of becoming a certified project manager?
- When you are a certified project manager, it is like a shot in the arm for you and your company. You add your credential to your resume and flaunt it on your LinkedIn profile to get noticed by the right set of people
- Companies prefer a certified project manager as they can claim to have competent project managers that are recognized the world over. Hence, companies have greater chances of bagging the projects from clients
- You get acclaim from peers and clients for the commitment and knowledge you have gained as a certified project manager
- Of course, there is definitely a monetary benefit associated with the certification. You can look forward to a 20% hike in PMP Salary if you are a PMP certified project manager
How do I become a certified project manager?
Are you thinking of becoming a certified project manager? Most of the certification bodies need you to write an exam. What will the exam have? You will be tested on the project management concepts and how it is applied for successfully managing the projects.
PMP certified project manager:
Are you aiming to be a PMP? Then, check if you meet these PMP requirements:
- 4-year bachelor degree
- 4500 hours of experience managing and directing projects
- 35 hours of project management education
What next? Apply on the PMI website, pay your fee and schedule your exam. Start your PMP exam prep and practice the questions from the PMP Question Bank. Here is some quick information about the PMP Exam:
- How many questions?
- 200 questions
- How much time do I have?
- 4 hours
- Any specific percentage of questions from each topic?
- You have 5 process groups and you get maximum questions from executing process group (31%), lowest from closing (7%). Planning (24%), Monitoring & Control (25%). So be sure to revise your PMP Study Plan accordingly.
- Have you understood the PMI Code of Ethics? You will be tested on these too since ethics are an integral part of the project management
It’s always good to practice before taking the exam. So you may check out a sample online PMP exam before taking the actual one.
PRINCE 2 Foundation:
Is your goal the PRINCE 2 Foundation certified project manager?
You need to answer 75 multiple choice questions in one hour. The exam is based on the ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’.
But, if your goal is to be a PRINCE 2 Practitioner, you first need to pass the foundation or CAPM or PMP or IPMA level A, B, C, D. You need to answer 8 questions with 10 sub-questions under each within 2.5 hours.
How about IPMA certified project manager?
You saw that level A and B are for Project director and senior manager. Therefore, let us look at level C and D. IPMA certified project manager has to showcase his/her previous experience and will be tested on concepts as well as practical exercises.
Write a 2 hour written exam. In this, you will be given assignments on project organization, planning, and control for a case study. If you are through in this phase, you will participate in a group exercise on project management. The final stage is a personal interview after which you become a certified project manager.
What if you want to be a certified project manager in Agile methodology?
You may choose from either Scrum Alliance or PMI. Do you want to go for PMI-ACP, similar to PMP? Then, you need to fulfill the eligibility requirements (2000 hours of general project management experience, 1500 hours of agile project experience and 21 hours of training on agile practices). Now, apply online and after your application is approved, pay fees, schedule your exam and become an ACP.
Scrum Alliance says that you need to attend a scrum training online or offline conducted by a certified trainer and then take the exam. If you are planning for CSM or CSPO, you need to attend a 2-day training and then take an exam based on which you will be certified.
What after Certification?
Are you thinking that once you are certified, you can forget all about project management? I am sure you are definitely wiser.
If you want to retain your certification, you need to earn some Professionals Development Units (PDU) or equivalents. These are an indication that you continue to learn, contribute and be with the community to keep yourself updated on project management practices.
Choose from the multiple options to become a certified project manager. If you are certified, you will definitely score higher than others. Moreover, you have seen the tangible and intangible benefits you get after you are a certified project manager. So, go on and become a certified project manager of your need.
Sunanda Gundavajhala, B.Tech, M.B.A, PMP has over 25 years of project management. She is a consultant, trainer on project management for different sectors and is the recipient of “Recognition of Excellence” award from PMI, USA and Woman Volunteer award from Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI. Sunanda has contributed to the “Practice Standard on Scheduling, PMI”. She has worked as the Liaison Officer for PMIEF (Education Foundation) for the Hyderabad, India Chapter of PMI.