‘I Try to Avoid Hiring PMPs’

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It’s not a great start to the day when you hear this from someone in the gym – and that’s what happened one morning while I was chatting with my ‘elliptical’ partner. He works for a cloud-based accounts receivable solutions provider.

David Barrett photo
David Barrett

Our conversation came around to project managers, the PMI® and PMPs when he made this remark, making me cringe. He explained that, in his experience, the project managers being produced by our community work in a shell, focused only on their project tick boxes. Cringe #2. In his particular environment, he elaborated, he needs project managers that think in terms of business outcome management, strategy execution and business benefits.

My fellow PMI® members may or may not be pleased to know that, while I agreed with him to an extent, I did let him know that things are changing.

The PMI, I offered, has recognized this issue. The ‘Knowledge Triangle’ has mandated that at least a third of our re-certification units over three years must come from education and experience in strategy, leadership and business management.

I also offered that when I talk to audiences about taking our project management careers to the next level, I always emphasize the importance of understanding the business and connecting the work we do to strategy and business outcomes.

But I did agree with him, recognizing that he represents the world of small to medium sized businesses and not the world of 200+ project-manager-strong companies. Too many of us, I agreed, are tick-box managers: by the books, black and white, build it on-time, on budget, on scope.

Chapters of the PMI® are waking up and offering monthly speakers, workshops and content within conferences around this idea of talking strategy, business outcome and leadership.

Let’s start to think outside the box and focus on the business.

My ‘elliptical’ friend works for a growing business in an innovative field like thousands of other business out there and he and they need smart, business-savvy and strategic project managers!

We have time to fix this.

David Barrett is national program director of SEEC’s Masters Certificate Program in Project Management.

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