Do You Really Need a PMP Certified Manager for That Project?

What makes a good PM? What skills do they bring to the table? Do they have to be certified to be an asset to your project? The answers vary widely from organization to organization. The answer comes down, at least from our perspective, it all depends!

A successful Project Manager must simultaneously manage the four basic elements of a project: resources, time, money, and scope. All of these elements are interrelated and must be managed effectively.  

But the real question is - when should you assign a manager who holds a PMP certification to a project? In some cases, it may be overkill to require PMP certification.  In others, you might want to insist on it.  Where do you draw the line and what caution should be taken?

A PMP designation after an individual’s name is a great, but it is no indication of how good a project manager he or she will be. Having PMP certification means that the person has the proper amount of experience and training to sit for the test, and then correctly answered 61% of the answers on the exam – yes only 61%.

The most interesting thing about the PMP certification is the weight that some employers place on the designation when looking for project managers. To these organizations, it’s an easy screening mechanism for their HR personnel. However, that approach may screen out project managers with many years of very successful management of projects and leave the organization with a much less experienced and knowledgeable PMP certified project manager.

Try something different.  For medium to small projects, consider foregoing the requirement for PMP certification as the main criteria for the position and instead look for the following four things to get a top notch Project Manager.

  • Interpersonal skills. The ability to manage people is vital. Project managers are ultimately responsible for coordinating the efforts of the technical staff assigned to the project. It's crucial that they have the interpersonal and leadership skills to direct team members and keep them motivated and on track. They also need to be able to smoothly navigate through the tricky politics within and between the participating organizations.
  • Organizational skills. This is a key characteristic of great project managers and is absolutely critical to keep projects on schedule and budget. The ability to assign resources, prioritize tasks, and keep tabs on the budget will ensure quality and impact the project's success.
  • Communication skills. The project manager is the main communication link between the business managers and technical team. Their ability to clearly communicate with members of both groups is essential. They must be able to clearly communicate project objectives, challenges or problems, scope changes, and regular project status reports.
  • Problem-solving skills. In every project, it's unexpected problems or challenges that drive everyone crazy. The project manager must be able to effectively handle these situations and mitigate risk so they don't get out of control.

When approaching larger, more mission critical projects, start with the four traits and then add the PMP certificate requirement.  Require project managers who have PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP®) training. To obtain PMP certification, the individual must satisfy education and experience requirements, agree and adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct, and pass the PMP Certification Examination.

EDGE has a team of project managers, both with PMP certification and without. But, what they all have in common is the four traits – interpersonal skills, organizational skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills. They are known for their ability to lead projects beyond the expectations of the hiring organizations.

For more information about EDGE project managers, click over to our Project Management page on our website or contact a member of our client relations team.

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