New Project Managers and the PMP Exam: A Rant

Filed under PMP | Posted by PMStudent

The PMI has done a magnificent job of marketing themselves and one of their certifications in particular, the PMP exam.

If you are relatively new to the career opportunities that revolve around project management and start researching more about the field, it is likely you will know about the existence of the PMP exam immediately.

And that is why I receive a lot of questions about how to pass the PMP exam.

I tend to answer this question with another question, unless I am able to derive the answer from the context of the message.

“Do you have the 3-5 years of project management experience that the PMP exam requires?

Look, I hate to be a party-pooper. ?Most of you are hard-working, bright people with the courage to venture into a new area and build your expertise. ?I admire that! ?You want to build a career you enjoy and can be proud of, and provide well for your family and yourself. ?You are my “peeps” and I’m already proud of you.

Here’s the deal. ?If you are new to project management, welcome! ?Don’t worry about certifications yet. If you do, and go for something like the CAPM or ITIL that require minimal experience be sure to view them as a learning?exercise, NOT as a way to land a good job when you complete them. ?I wouldn’t give you a job on the basis of having or not having a certification, even if it might increase your chances to get some initial recognition by potential employers.

A Rant Against Many PMP Training Providers

I am happy you found me, because 1) I don’t provide PMP training and 2) I care more about helping make you into a successful project manager than I do about you passing some test. ?Unfortunately, I have accumulated hundreds of (anecdotal) reports from people who went to a PMP training provider who happily took their money and gave them training without any regard for their eligibility to take the exam in the first place. ?In fact, I have had reports of companies who help people “get creative” with their application forms.

Look, the majority of PMP training providers are great companies who offer great training. ?But before you pay any of your hard-earned money on the table, educate yourself about the exam. ?Do you meet the requirements to apply? ?Is it even a relevant certification in your part of the world and industry? ?I set up a free PMP Guide newsletter to help answer these questions and more if you are looking into it. ?I can make recommendations for training companies I have personal experience with, but not until you’ve educated yourself on why the heck you’d want to do this in the first place.

“Pass or your money back” Guarantees

This is probably an effective marketing tactic. ?But I hate it. ?I think it draws in people who are not really ready or experienced enough to even be thinking about taking the PMP exam yet.

Every time I see this “pass or your money back” guarantee I throw up in my mouth a little bit. ?Disgusting, I know. ?That’s what I think too.

PMP Training Providers: ?Offer a “100% satisfaction or your money back” guarantee. ?Or a “didn’t meet your expectations” guarantee. ?This forces you to set expectations appropriately and have integrity built into your business model.

As an added bonus, it doesn’t make me angry.

If the PMP is Not For You

I specialize in helping new project managers figure things out.? You can ask me a question anytime, read this blog, sign up for my free newsletters, check out my Project Management Career Coaching Course, or trial the monthly pmStudent e-Learning.? I won’t guarantee you a job after you take my training, but if you study and ask questions I can guarantee you will learn many things that are valuable in the everyday life of a project manager.