March 22, 2009 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

There’s a certification that project management professionals can get from the aptly-named Project Management Institute.  It’s one of the more popular certifications, and as I understand, it’s not easy.  To be certified, you have to go to a lot of classes, work as a PM professional and keep the certification up-to-date.

The worst PMs I’ve worked with have been PMI-certified.  There.  I said it.  I said it, and here’s why…..

I don’t believe that the PMI is teaching bad techniques – I’m sure they’re very valuable.  However, these techniques should not be applied as cookie-cutters at the expense of common-sense and an awareness of the project at hand.  They shouldn’t be thrown up as hurdles for the sake of clearing them so that the PM can mark something off a checklist they got from a class.  Some people understand this and use what they learned at PMI as it makes sense.  Others don’t and try to shoehorn a project into their view of what every project should be.

I’m not saying that everyone with PMI certification should be avoided.  On the contrary, I’ve worked with great PMs who have PMI certification.  However, all of the worst PMs I’ve worked with have it and some of the very best have no certifications at all.  The best PMs understand that most of what they do is probably transparent to the rest of the group – things go smoothly because they’re clearing the road.

For me, a PMI certification in a signature line is a flag that this person could be trouble.  Often, I’m happily surprised when they turn out to be great.  It’s like any other certification – not a substitute for good experience and natural ability.

(I’ll leave software test certifications for a whole other rant.)


Entry filed under: Rants.

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