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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.

#project #program #portfolio #projectmanagement #PMI #PMIACP #ACP #PMP #leadership

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