Thursday, June 22, 2006

PiMPing it up

A few weeks ago, I became a PiMP. Technically, my certification is "Project Management Professional (PMP)" but everyone I mentioned this to said, "what's a pimp?". Can you believe this is the best name they could come up with? Not only is the acronym bad, but the full title is a little dorky too. Why not "certified project manager" or something? I suggest we charter a project to clean up this mess.

It’s hard to believe that the PMP is the new "hot credential" and is what the CPA is to Accounting for Project Management; except the CPA exam is about 10 times harder. Everyone is trying to get their PMP. I will give it to the Project Management Institute (PMI); they have managed to transform themselves from a somewhat obscure association to a highly sought after credentialing body. Back when I was doing full time project management, this certification didn’t exist or at least was never ever discussed. Having been in management for a while now, I've seen a huge upswing in this credential over the last couple years and when the remaining few project managers on my staff decided to get certified, I decided to go along for the ride. I figured I should probably have this credential if my staff did, and I assumed I could breeze through it with my over 10 years of complex project management experience.

So I signed up and then I looked at the materials. To my absolute horror, the materials didn’t relate to "the real world". They were obscure, academic, and focused on a single process methodology, not widely adopted. I think people who had never managed a project would probably have an advantage on this exam since they would lack any context. I sought in vain for a way to back out of this. I definitely had not anticipated having to "study" for this stupid test and was hugely annoyed that I had gotten myself into this situation, voluntarily no less. Having found no way to exit left, I sucked it up, studied the materials and took the exam. At first I thought I had the wrong exam. The exam didn’t reflect the study materials and it didn’t reflect real-life either. I couldn’t believe I was conned into memorizing all of PMI’s processes and nuances and then the test didn’t even cover most of them. Instead, I was stuck in some sort of PMI parallel universe designed to torture people with strange, "out of the blue" questions. But I passed. Maybe strange becomes me.

My parents couldn’t wait to tell everyone that I had become a Pimp. They conveniently leave out that it was a legitimate credential and abruptly stop the conversation after saying that I'm a pimp in Virginia and doing well. Gotta go!

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