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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Time for a "Master Project Manager" Certification?

Thanos project management meme
Values are fine, but you also need guidance!

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” Peter Drucker

“No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation.” Horatius

What is current state of PMI® credentials?

Let’s start with Agile.

PMI has had the PMI-ACP® since 2011, and it is currently the third most popular certification. In 2017 they published the Agile Practice Guide, but it wasn’t until 2019 that PMI pushed into Scrum related certifications. In 2020 PMI announced the retirement of some of the Disciplined Agile certifications (sorry if you had one!) but introduced the 5 agile certifications that are the current framework. All purportedly support the “Journey to Business Agility” and are as follows: PMI-ACP, DASM®, DASSM®, DA Coach®, DAVSC®.

The PMI-ACP is by far their most popular agile certification.

The flagship certification for PMI is the Project Management Professional. PMI has recently updated the Exam Content Outline (ECO), and approximately 50% of the content is now based on agile methodologies. They also issued a 7th Edition of the PMBOK, and in a dramatic move away from the prior editions, they removed the tactical tools and techniques that support delivery of a predictive project.

Prior to the recent shift, I would have described the PMP as a predictive certification, and the PMI-ACP an agile certification.

Where are we now?

The first question is the fate of the PMI-ACP certification. If the PMP exam now includes the PMI-ACP content, why have the PMI-ACP? Will PMI end up retiring the PMI-ACP, or will they continue to tie it to their current agile framework? How will the PMI-ACP be differentiated from the other Agile certifications?

The second question is the direction of the predictive portion of the test. The current test relies heavily on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK, even though that was officially retired in March, 2022! What reference guide will be used in the future? People do still build houses, bridges and other predictive projects. Interestingly, PMI has a Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects Certification (PMI-CP)® (did you know that??). I am unfamiliar with that certification, but could that become the basis of predictive project process?

A principles-based approach is great! We need principles! We also need knowledge, tools, and techniques.

Here is a path forward.

Upgrade the PMI-ACP certification. Make it equal to the former PMP Certification and name it the Project Management Professional - Agile Emphasis. Go back to the prior ECO for the current PMP Exam, base it on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK and call it the Project Management Professional - Predictive Emphasis.

You have now created two equal certifications, one focused on Agile and one focused on Predictive.

With that in place, create a completely new certification – Master Project Manager! One of the prerequisites is that you hold BOTH other certs to sit for it. Use the 7th Edition of the PMBOK as the basis, but reference the 6th Edition for predictive and the Disciplined Agile® resources for adaptive.

Problem solved.

This creates a new profit center for PMI and helps all the Authorized Training Partners. This will require PMI to step back from their current path, but the logic is sound. This new certification will drive people to the upgraded PMI-ACP, the 6th Edition continues to evolve as a predictive reference guide, and the ethics in the 7th Edition undergird both!



I love reading comments to my posts. Thanks to everyone who challenges assumptions and offers well thought out counter points. I have to confess that my favorites are the angry responses. Those are so fun to read! Regardless of your reaction to my post, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to respond.


PM Aspire
PM Aspire
Aug 19, 2023

Absolutely, obtaining a Master Project Manager certification seems like a progressive step in the field of project management. As projects become more complex and diverse, a comprehensive certification that encompasses advanced skills and strategies would certainly help professionals stay ahead of the curve. However, it's important to ensure that such a certification truly reflects the evolving challenges of the industry and promotes practical knowledge alongside theoretical expertise. The concept holds promise, and it will be fascinating to witness how this proposal develops and gains recognition within the project management community.

Highly Recommended to all. For More Information Please Visit: https://pmaspire.com/


PMO Global Institute
PMO Global Institute
Jun 27, 2023

Hello fellow project managers,

I've been thinking about the increasing complexity of project management and the diverse range of skills required to excel in this field. It got me wondering if it's time to introduce a new certification, specifically tailored for experienced professionals like us. I propose the "Master Project Manager" certification.

The idea behind this certification is to recognize project managers who have demonstrated exceptional expertise across multiple domains and have consistently delivered successful projects. It would go beyond the traditional certifications, acknowledging the breadth and depth of skills required to navigate complex projects in today's fast-paced business environment.

The "Master Project Manager" certification would encompass various areas such as advanced project planning and scheduling, risk management, stakeholder engagement,…


PMaspire Ltd
PMaspire Ltd
May 31, 2023

First off, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on the need for a master project manager certification. As someone who has been involved in project management for a while now, I couldn't agree more with your perspective. It's about time we recognize the value and expertise of seasoned project managers and provide them with a prestigious certification that truly reflects their mastery of the craft.

Your article brings up some excellent points about the benefits of having a master project manager certification. It's not just about adding another fancy title to our resumes; it's about raising the bar and establishing a standard for excellence in the field. I couldn't agree more that this certification would…


Nov 26, 2022

Bill, I couldn't agree more about have a Master Project Manager certification from PMI that would extensively cover both agile and predictive project management. However, I would add a third third facet to that gem: Lean Six Sigma project management. This would “round out” the project management knowledge base. As you point out we will continue to have predictive projects like construction projects, agile projects like software projects, and many of us in manufacturing will have six sigma type projects. Thankfully until PMI launches their certification we have the PMA option, the Master’s Certificate in Advanced Project Management. This covers all three of those gems facets and a few additional supporting training courses that help pave the way for a…


Lee Lambert
Lee Lambert
Oct 20, 2022

As one of the Founders of the PMI PMP Certification and a PMI Fellow with over 44 years of volunteer service to the profession I try and stay informed and this sneaked up on me. I have been suggesting something like this for several years, but to-date it has not gotten much traction. I think it is a good idea if done correctly. I remember it took 10 years for the PMP to earn the respect of major corporations at which time the numbers went vertical. I will be anxious to see how your efforts go. Good luck.

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