Project Management is like Venturing into Deep Water
Is the Project Management Body of Knowledge enough to build and sustain a rewarding career in project management? Over the past or more years, we have seen the increase in the number of Certified Project Management Professionals (PMP). Some source report that there are over 750,000 people who are now PMPs. Many professionals have been thrust in the arena of project management either on their own or by a push or nudge from their managers or others. Project Management has been referred to as the “accidental profession” because in the past no one has set out in their early career choices to become a project manager.
Let me explain how getting into project management sometimes happens. Professionals from marketing, finance, sales, and engineering are asked to lead or manage a project. They have had no or very little formal training in project management. After working on a few projects they begin to learn more and more about the profession of project management.
Learning project management is very similar to learning how to swim. Those that are new to project management are like those that are learning how to swim for the first time. The new project manager can accomplish and manage new and small projects; they have to stay in the “shallow end” of the environment where they are applying project management. They learn to do and perform more as they
practice the profession of project management. The new project manager applies the practices they learn and become skilled at project management.
However, at some point, the project managers are called to handle larger and more complex projects. Just as swimming in the “deep end” of the pool, much more is at stake with these large projects and they cannot be managed in the same way as the smaller projects. In order to handle the larger project, more training, coaching and experience is needed. The PMBOK Guide ® becomes the foundation of
project management knowledge that is needed to transform the new project manager to a more seasoned project manager that can take on the challenge of leading and guiding a team of people on an extensive project assignment.
The PMBOK Guide is used to prepare the project manager to go into the large complex and complicated environments. This is very much like preparing and learning how to swim in the “deep end” of the pool.
Note that as a swimmer, once you have been qualified to swim in the “deep end,” this does not mean that you can now go diving in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Similarly, the PMP Certification will give you the foundation to handle and manage the larger projects successfully, but more training and skills are needed to maintain and sustain success on future projects.