Why Project Management Education? Why PMP, Project+, Prince2?
25-Mar-2011 - The buzz about project management in today’s world is amazing. Project management has become integral in the achievement of important goals. And in the worlds of career development and business Project management credential like those from the Project Management Institute (PMI) are qualifications that can’t be ignored. organizations.
Indeed PMI’s PMP (Project Management Professional) is a globally recognized credential that validates skills, knowledge and experience in project management.
But in order to appreciate the value of project management education as well as that of PMP and other project management credentials we must ask and answer the question: what is the “WHY” in project management?
Why Project Management?
Project management affects and touches us all in many diverse ways. It’s simply about better organization and methods that achieve results we want efficiently. Unlike routine, ongoing operational work a project has a specific beginning and a specific end. There are projects all around us from the small and simple to the large and complex.
Examples of projects include building a new airport, providing optical fibre for an estate, developing and launching new commercial services, updating all customer bank accounts, providing national ID card for all citizens, implementing new web services, organizing an anniversary celebration, etc.
Every project has its requirements – deadlines, expected results – deliverables. All projects employ time and other resources. Every new thing starts off as a project. Is it a new building? Even renovating an old, abandoned building requires a fresh start. Or reconstructing an airport, or building a new expressway. These projects need resources. There are constraints.
The uniqueness of projects means they contain unforeseen risks and new challenges. And to ensure project success time, the schedule, cost, quality, and risk all need to be managed. Adjustments often need to be made to keep the project on track.
However what happens in practice? Project management is so important because most projects fail. In the words of the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Project+ program manager, “A majority of projects do not achieve results. Performance is way below expectation, activities are uncoordinated, resources are wasted and deadlines are not met. Industry research indicates that 74% of all IT projects fail, come in over budget or are overdue. And 28% of projects fail all together. These statistics are alarming, especially in light of the current situation of the global economy. Companies are looking for qualified individuals that have the knowledge to successfully bring in projects on time and under budget”.
The need for project management is a reality
Working longer hours, understanding the situation as you go along, dealing with problems or hoping for the best don’t make the cut. To manage projects effectively project management expertise must be brought in to fill the vacuum – by applying specific knowledge, skills, experience, tools, principles and techniques to project activities to meet the requirements of the project.
The need for competent project managers is obvious and growing. Why waste resources? Why gamble? Unfortunately, abandoned elephant projects litter the landscape. No investor is interested in such waste. Meeting deadlines, working within budget and most importantly achieving project results have made project managers highly sought in all spheres of life – social, educational and commercial sectors.
Project management expertise is in fact regarded as today's most critical business skill that cuts across different business areas and professions such as IT, Health, Finance, Telecoms, Manufacturing, etc. Fortune Magazine calls project management, "Career Number 1."
No wonder project management is attractive to employers and clients. I hope you see that because of today's "squeeze-tight-to-the-last-drop" economy, having effective project management skills puts you in a strong competitive position.
Project management is one of the fastest growing professions with demand. No matter which industry you’re in, there is always a need for people who understand project management.
Industry Neutral – Strong IT Demand
Project management programs and standards are industry neutral – all sectors benefit. Project management is particularly essential for the IT industry because of society’s increasing dependence on IT. Project management is useful for IT practitioners - administrators, programmers, engineers and non-IT people involved in all manner of projects – IT projects and IT enabled projects.
For example, Nigeria’s national voters’ registration exercise in 2011 organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria highlights the matter. Even though computers were used for data capture in the registration exercise, most of the issues that overwhelmed the INEC teams were more of project management inadequacies than technical problems.
In an atmosphere of downturns, recession and uncertainty cost control and effectiveness are essentials for survival and growth. It is also an environment that requires creative interventions through new projects designed to improve performance. In the midst of uncertainty and hostility status quo is suicidal. Standing still in today’s world is equal to going backwards. Such new projects require efficient and effective management.
Competent project managers that can deliver by effectively managing projects from start to finish are needed; these are project managers that can effectively handle risk assessment and mitigation, sudden hindrances as well as unexpected problems with key personnel. Projects will also often have to address issues of ethics and professionalism. However, competent project managers that can execute, monitor and control projects are hard to find. Because even when “expert” project management solutions are provided is the approach a stop-gap or does the solution measure up to global best practices?
Why Project Management Education
This is where project management education makes an entrance. In view of obvious capacity requirements the practice of project management has in fact become a formal discipline. The growing societal awareness of project management certification means the demand for knowledgeable project managers is on the rise; even becoming a requirement in the recruitment of project managers and in securing jobs and contracts that require project management.
With the right candidate project management education or certification confers strong competitive advantage in the business and career market. Several organizations provide project management courses and in the certification sphere, PMP, CompTIA Project+ and Prince2 have been developed to meet the need for professionalism in project management. These industry-neutral titles continually attract strong demand because of the immense need all around the world to close the gaps in project management expertise.
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