The Iron Triangle is Now a Buckyball

Another day, another training organization explaining why you need project management certification.  This one was linked from a group on LinkedIn, which is why I saw it.  The provider proudly exclaimed that they would teach you to deliver projects “on task, on time and on budget.”


A Buckyball

Once upon a time, that was all that was required.  Now, it’s about delivering value, minimizing “time to market” or “time to value,” implementing Lean practices, being Agile, and all sorts of other improvements.  And then there’s quality management, risk management, stakeholder management, change management, and so on.  It’s been several years since I managed a project team spread across fewer than three time zones, and the average is probably between four and five.  Bottom line: the old “iron triangle” is now a Buckyball.

I’ve been managing projects for well over twenty years, and I’ve maintained my PMP for ten years.  I support credentialing, as a mid-career milestone.  I just disapprove of any credential being touted as a career entry point.  You can’t even buy a Subway franchise without spending some time working on the counter, building sandwiches.  Your dues have to be paid in full, in advance.

Note that this is not a diatribe against trainers.  I admire anyone who passes on the tribal knowledge, whether it’s in a formal classroom or just over coffee in an otherwise empty conference room.  I’ve spent a few years in classrooms, teaching, and much of the last decade or so, mentoring.  It is the marketers and the shills who annoy me.  God bless any PMP prep course that insists their students document the requisite experience to sit for the exam, before taking their money.  I just haven’t heard of one.

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.

4 thoughts on “The Iron Triangle is Now a Buckyball

  1. Perhaps I’m missing something. Is it not PMI’s responsibility to insure candidates have the requisite experience? Why should an educational provider have that responsibility transferred to them?

    *Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any educational provider.

  2. I guess it’s about ethics. Why train somebody for the PMP exam when the candidate is lacking 4,500 hours of Project Management experience… but then, that training may well be the entry point for the candidate to start managing projects and start his/her way to the PMP… so I guess it should be stated up front so the candidate makes an informed decision…

  3. Hi John,

    “God bless any PMP prep course that insists their students document the requisite experience to sit for the exam, before taking their money.”

    I was praising an apparently apocryphal business model. No where in that statement is a demand, or even a criticism. Similarly, calling Duane Allman the greatest guitarist in history is no criticism of Eric Clapton.

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