PMI Announces a New Professional Credential for Portfolio Managers

PMI has announced that they are developing a new professional credential: Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP).  As you might guess from the name, this certification is directed toward project portfolio managers. For more information on eligibility, check the PfMP Certification page on the PMI web site.

PMI says that the PfMP Exam Content Outline will be made available later this month, and they expect that the pilot test will be available late in 4Q13.  At a guess, the Standard for Portfolio Management, Third Edition will likely be a key resource.  However, I expect that PMI will list a number of other references.

Note that nearly four years after it was introduced, there are only 939 active holders of the Program Management Professional (PgMP) credential.  I don’t know how many portfolio managers PMI expects to attract with this credential, but I’ll bet the initial interest will come almost entirely from people who already hold two or more PMI certifications.  I’ll report on this again later in the year, as news becomes available.

New PM Articles for the Week of August 29 – September 4

New project management articles published on the web during the week of August 29 – September 4, 2011.  We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to!  Recommended:

  • Abid Mustafa on the establishment of a PMO: “The structure of the PMO cannot be imposed or rushed, but must develop naturally.”
  • Bruce Benson says the key to managing innovation efforts is to not manage them.  At least, not as closely as projects pursuing more specific outcomes.
  • Elizabeth Harrin has two more book reviews: “Project Success: Critical Factors and Behaviors,” by Emanuel Camilleri, and “Managing Projects: A Team-based Approach,” a textbook by Karen Brown and Nancy Hyer.
  • Roger Kastner thinks organizations should measure the effectiveness of their project managers at managing and delivering on the commitments they make to stakeholders.
  • Todd Williams on indecision: “It takes a leader to make effective decisions. The person’s position or rank is irrelevant.”  Indeed.
  • Bas de Baar notes that a group’s culture is a product of the group’s conversations; consequently, “interventions should be focused on the conversations.”
  • Michelle Symonds suggests that women make the best project managers.  She even has survey results to support her claims, so it must be true!
  • Meredith Guetig shares some PowerPoint best practices for project managers.
  • Glenn Alleman is advocating for capabilities-based planning, as opposed to simply collecting use cases.
  • PMI and the International Council on Systems Engineering have joined forces to integrate their respective best practices.
  • PMI also announced availability of two new knowledge assessments, for Program Management and Portfolio Management, respectively.  Like the Project Management assessment, each is 100 multiple choice questions, based on their respective practice standards, and costs $35.
  • Josh Nankivel offers five reasons your project management career isn’t moving, and what to do about it.
  • Mike Griffiths is working with RMC, the company founded by the late Rita Mulcahy, to create a PMI-Agile Certified Practioner study Guide.
  • Derek Huether is offering a PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner preparation workshop, September 26 – 28, in Columbia, MD for $1495.  Enroll through Agile Scout for a 15% discount.
  • Peter Saddington has been talking with Mark J. Balbes, PhD, on his recent experiences as an Agile Architect.  “Architecture is a frame of mind …”
  • Craig Brown shares a link to a video from the Boston AgilePalooza, where Jeff Patton reviews a discussion on Kanban.  Best line: “Are we re-branding common knowledge?”
  • AgilePalooza is coming to Tysons Corner, VA on September 16.  For $89, it looks like a full day of PDU opportunities, with lunch included.
  • And the current issue of PMI Today has a brief article explaining how to earn PDU’s by actively participating in the PMI Communities of Practice.
  • Bill Krebs reflects on ten years of Agile practices in project management.
  • From the “we see what we want to see” department, Meta S. Brown has an epiphany: Thomas Alva Edison practiced Agile techniques!


The Slow Growth of the PgMP Community

The April issue of PMI Today reports that there are now 530 holders of the Program Management Professional (PgMP) credential.  Over the last few months, PMI has been awarding an average of nine PgMP credentials per month.  That’s compared to over 3,000 PMP credentials per month.  Are there really more than 330 project managers for every program manager?  Or is the PgMP credential simply not reaching the target market?  Or is the process too onerous?  I do regular scans of the major job boards, looking for PgMP as a requirement.  So far, I’ve only seen it listed as an alternative to PMP, and never for an actual program manager position.  So, is this a failure of PMI to market the credential to potential employers?

Now PMI is reporting that they have completed the PgMP role delineation study, which is conducted every five to seven years to ensure the credential exam reflects current practice.  They say they interviewed over 1100 program managers, including 119 PgMP credential holders, with an average of 9.5 years of experience as a program manager.  Although there’s no firm date for when it will happen, the study will significantly change the PgMP examination; PMI estimates that about 56% of the exam content will change.  The original six domains will now be compressed into one new domain, Program Life Cycle, and four new domains will be created: Strategic Program Management, Benefits Management, Stakeholder Management, and Governance.  See the new PgMP Examination Content Outline for details.

In the Outline, PMI notes that “those involved in the study … were not bound by The Standard for Program Management.  They were charged with defining the role of individuals leading and directing programs, and using their experience and pertinent resources to help in this task.  Many of the domains, tasks knowledge, and skills outlined by the PgMP Examination Content Outline are new, revised, or reclassified in comparison to what is found in The Standard for Program Management.  Candidates studying for the examination will certainly want to include the current edition of The Standard for Program Management as one of [emphasis added] their references, and would be well advised to read other current titles on program management.”

In other words, PMI has obsoleted the several study guides on the market, as well as their own Standard, and given little guidance on what they consider to be authoritative replacements.  And while I applaud their intent, I have to wonder how they plan to drive candidates to undergo what was already a far more rigorous and expensive process than the PMP or any of their other credentials.  And while they’re at it, drive demand among employers.