Do I need to be certified to run successful projects?


I wile ago someone on LinkedIn posted this question in a group forum. The subject became one of the most debated post I’ve ever seen. PMPs, Doctors and non-certified professionals had a real showdown – The final battle between the nemeses!

Some of the arguments against certifications within project management (such as PMI/PMP and PRINCE2):

  • There is absolutely NO credible research linking those who are certified to more successful project outcomes or those who are NOT certified to less successful outcomes.
  •  Certification is a one-time test that cannot stand the test of time. Even if we re-certified, it is still a one-time single point of optimization that cannot represent what we do or did in between.
  • If you are already pretty experienced, the certification may not provide much value in this aspect. 
  • Certification probably helps more in career growth than in running projects.
  • If practitioners really wanted to improve themselves, then they should go about doing it the old fashioned way- by learning how to actually manage people to get things done. 
  • Competence based programs (less focus on standards, more focus on experience) is better the one-time tests.

This is my own thoughts; I have both a personal drive (to much according to some), experience, certifications and university degree. I do not value any of them higher then the other. The person I am today and the value I create in my profession, is a sum of them all. My PMP and PMI-ACP is not defining my capacity to deliver value, but my company or client can be confident that the value will be delivered through globally recognized best practices.

In the same way is a product not of better quality just because it’s UL or FCC approved, or made by following ISO standards. However, it is likely that it’s tested to perform well, and is probably made after well documented and standardized processes, recognized as best practice.

I have nothing bad to say about PMI, I appreciate the value being delivered to the project management community. Being a member provides an excellent opportunity to network and adding competence through meeting and discussing with other PM professionals, attending seminars and reading articles. The PDU program is a carrot (or a stick) to actually do it.

Finally, some further reading on the subject: