Project management is a dynamic profession, and professional managers handle contract projects that are usually outside the normal stream of company activity.
The Project Management Institute awards professional certification for Project Management Professional (PMP) training. Individuals must enroll in a recognized PMP training program and pass a comprehensive four-hour exam to be certified. The exam challenges experienced managers, and individuals who pass the test are considered experts in project management, and most employers reward successful certification with higher pay. Only 60 percent of people taking the test pass it.
PMP training prepares project managers to administer large projects in various disciplines. These projects may involve construction, software development, information technology, or any function where complex interaction occurs and resources must be managed effectively. Project managers are charged with seeing that projects are completed on time and under budget. These professionals must understand revenue models including profit and loss sheets, completion costs, and manage any project changes in real time. One pivotal responsibility managers must meet is to ensure that all legal aspects of a project are met.
Most managers utilize software to efficiently track resources, people, and project details. Managers must usually have a degree in their area of expertise before beginning PMP training. Successful completion of projects often results in promotion to more senior company positions. These might include Group Manager or Group Director and involve supervising multiple projects.
Project Manager Job Duties
Project managers handle clients and employees and report to upper management. PCP training emphasizes leadership and the ability to work as a team to accomplish a contract job. Daily management of projects often involves responding to changing conditions and adjusting plans accordingly. Projects never follow plans exactly. Problems with personnel, suppliers, or clients can quickly alter the scope of any project, and managers must retain flexibility to make new conditions work.
During the course of completing a project, more effective ways to accomplish the ultimate goal may become apparent, and project managers provide critical feedback to upper management for instituting changes in the basic plan. Managers assign tasks according to qualifications and manage daily operations by supervising all employees involved with the project. Managers must ensure that risks are minimized and safety guidelines are followed. Jobsite accidents can derail any project, and project managers bear ultimate responsibility that safe working conditions keep projects on track.
Techniques, tools and knowledge to manage large projects are often unique. Managers must understand complicated principles such as critical path analysis, work breakdown structures, and earned value management. Effective management requires skills in at least four disparate areas. These areas include general management skills, environmental management, knowledge of the application area, and the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
This knowledge includes five basic processes managers must master: initiating a proposal, planning a project in detail, executing the plan, monitoring and controlling daily operations of the plan, and closing out the project. Managers must also have skills to effectively use project management software, which often requires separate training.
Choosing the Right PMP Training School
Choosing the right training program can be critical for successful certification because of the high failure rate of individuals taking the qualifying test. The test is unpredictable, but successful PMP training will cover all the answers. Courses can be taken online or in person. Personal classes allow greater communication between teachers, students and classmates. Online training allows candidates to study when they have the time, and they can work at their own pace. Online PMP training includes all the course materials available at personal training sessions.
Price may be a key factor in choosing a program. Students need sufficient resources to complete the whole course. Students should compare prices to find the best fit for their budget, because money can make a difference. Online courses are generally cheaper than their counterparts, but students should choose the alternative that best suits their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Students should only choose institutions affiliated with the Project Management Institute. This organization can provide recommended programs and websites, and qualified schools will also be a Registered Education Provider. Instructors should also be qualified and PMP-certified in their own right.
The Project Management Body of Knowledge text is continually being updated, and students should ensure that the school utilizes the latest edition. Students must complete 35 hours of preparation and training before being allowed to take the test. Effective training programs offer sample questions to help students prepare. Students should also research pass-fail rates for individual schools, bearing in mind that the average pass rate is 60 percent.
PMP Training Coursework and Certification
There are six levels of certification that students may pursue. Each can be pursued independently according to students’ needs, and no certification is required as a prerequisite for any other program. The following certifications are the choices from which a student may choose.
- Certified Associate in Project Management: This certification is the basic entry-level qualification for project management careers.
- Project Management Professional: This certification is the globally accepted standard for project management and will open doors for major management projects.
- Program Management Professional: This program is for managers who must supervise multiple projects, or manage very complex undertakings requiring superior leadership skills.
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner: This certification is for managers who use the specific Agile techniques in projects.
- PMI Risk Management Professional: These professionals serve specialized functions that assess the risk potential for any project, and they are heavily involved in planning new projects.
- PMI Scheduling Professional: This is a specialty certification for those people most comfortable with designing schedules and timetables for multiple projects and seeing that the schedules are met in daily operations.
Necessary courses of PMP training include Project Management (PM) Basics, PM Software Training, and PM Skill Development. Many important areas for advanced training include Project Integration, Project Cost, Project Scope, Project Quality, Human Resources Management, Risk Management, and Procurement Management. Students who successfully complete these courses will develop the broad knowledge necessary to successfully manage all types of specialty projects.
The Project Management Institute offers its own certification courses that include discussion groups, mentors, strategies and leadership issues.