How the PMP Certification Can Propel Your Project Management Career

May 1, 2022 | PMP Certification, PMP Exam, PMP Exam Prep

Did you know that 2 out of 3 managers or leaders serve as project managers but do not have a PMP certification and as consequence 23% of projects were deemed failures in 2017?

Furthermore, many managers, supervisors, and leaders assume a variety of project management responsibilities without realizing it.

This proves two things: 1) There is a significant demand of professionals with a wide range of project management skills and experience. 2) Earning a PMP certification is pivotal for propelling your project management career.

Project management is essential for any business, regardless of industry.

Successful project management can help guide business growth. Additionally, well-organized and executed projects can ensure project success as well as positive client experiences.

After all, companies that focus on customer-centric processes are often successful, especially during today’s digital age. In fact, 46 percent of digital leaders cite a deficiency in project management. Furthermore, 36 percent of CIOs claim a project management skills gap in their organizations.

Inefficiencies can mean a ton of wasted time and money. Successful project management not only ensures that each step, task, and milestone stays on track throughout the project. This also ensures that the project remains within scope and budget.

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Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

Before you give up hope that building an efficient project management process is possible, or if you believe that project management doesn’t fit in your particular business or industry, think again… Developing a process for any project or business type is possible with the right tools and mindset.

Yes, each business, project, and industry has different project management needs. Therefore, it can be challenging to select a project management software or tool, or even build a process that effectively meets those needs.

Here are some ways different industries can leverage project management.

Creatives and Design – There are many creative agencies today that provide various design services, including website design. Because these types of projects involve a great deal of client interaction, they can benefit the most from project management processes or software designed with various client-facing features.

These features can include a communication system, scheduling options, and time tracking, all of which are crucial for monitoring project tasks, keeping client communication in check, and also effectively managing and planning resources.

Construction – The building, construction, and architecture industries require complex project management solutions. Project details, such as materials, resources, and budgets are among the top priorities for these types of projects and industries.

– IT Professionals – IT teams or companies that specialize in providing IT support and software development services are in dire need of complex project management with multiple stages, sprints, and quality control.

For example, IT support professionals rely on well-organized, structured, and highly detailed task lists to do their jobs. As a result, good project management can help streamline and better manage these areas.

IT professionals and support teams also benefit most from project management processes and software that rely on the cloud. This not only enables teams to work remotely from anywhere in the world, but it also ensures secure practices.

Military – Of course, numerous military personnel naturally fall into a project management role. Military personnel are taught effective leadership skills during training.

Military officers, operations managers and planners, commanders and sergeants are also highly adaptable to change and are trained to solve complex challenges in unique situations. This background and experience enable them to serve as successful project managers.

– Finance – The financial industry involves many ongoing projects that require a stable project management process and software. Many project management tools can be integrated with other finance programs, such as QuickBooks and Xero. Good project management can help streamline and automate many repetitive tasks, such as producing invoices, paying bills, and cutting POs. It also mitigates risks for human input error.

Of course, these are just a few examples of how businesses today can benefit from project management. One can clearly see that project management skills and expertise are crucial for many top firms today.

Perhaps you already work in one of these industries, or you are a business management consultant who works with clients in these industries. The good news is project management is incredibly versatile. Many of the basic project management fundamentals and principles can be applied to any business and industry. When executed properly, good project management practices can save you and your team time and energy.

A project management career is hard work, but it is also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Project managers are in high demand, and aren't going away anytime soon. So, if you are considering a project management career, or want to boost your career, then this article is for you.

This in-depth guide provides some tips for being an awesome project manager as well as how a PMP certification just might be what your career has been missing.

What Does An Awesome Project Manager Look Like?

First, we will review the characteristics and functions that make a great project manager. These characteristics are also what firms and businesses today look for when recruiting a project manager for their teams.

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Photographer: Christina @ | Source: Unsplash

1. Customer-Centric. Some companies today define successful project management by how closely project managers work with clients and meet client requirements.

As we mentioned briefly above, most customer-centric companies know that the customer experience is crucial today. Therefore, it’s up to the project manager to accomplish these things when managing a project:

– Project scope
– Gather project details, specifications, requirements and information
– Genuinely understand customers’ needs
– Break down and manage smaller milestones and deliverables.

2. Goals-Oriented. Successful project managers focus on both project goals and organizational goals. Every project—whether it is an internal program or a client project—should be aligned with both types of goals. This requires a balance between achieving those “quick wins” when managing tasks and critical objectives and delivering excellence to clients as well as the business.

On the other hand, project managers also have to play “Devil’s Advocate” from time to time. They cannot be afraid or hesitant to speak up with things are going wrong or when they are about to. Many teams can be over-ambitious about what they can achieve with their current resources and in a realistic timeframe.

The moral of the story is to be realistic with project goals and organizational goals, but also to avoid over-committing.

3. Accountable. Projects don't always fail due to a lack of sufficient project management skills. Most often, projects fail due to a lack of process and also ownership issues. Successful project managers are those who step up in their roles, and who are accountable for project success within the business and with stakeholders.

4. Serves as an Active Player in Making Decisions. A great project manager extends far beyond merely serving as an administrator who keeps an eye on checks and balances. However, too many project managers get stuck in what many professionals refer to as "traffic management".

These managers spend most of their time ensuring people and resources are in the right place at the right time rather than looking at the big picture or the project as a whole.

Of course, good project managers are involved in the project details to a certain extent. They understand all the concepts of the initiatives they are facilitating as well as the risks for the business.

However, they are also actively involved in making decisions and in helping the company make decisions. This level of involvement is what separates a great project manager from a “coordinator”.

5. Knowledgeable of Various Approaches. Yes, we all know that today’s digitally dominant world has changed how we manage projects. As a result, businesses require a flexible or “agile” way of managing projects, without losing sight of the details or scope. This is one reason why many businesses have adopted the agile project management methodology.

However, agile isn’t the end all, be all of project management methodologies and project management solutions. Some professionals manage projects in an agile way, regardless of the project type or the team. Great project managers understand that agile is only one methodology or approach in their toolbox and are knowledgeable of other tools and methodologies.

Furthermore, great managers know when project characteristics call for agile, or when another approach may be a better fit for the project and the team.

6. Accepts Automation. Project management by its very nature focuses on ensuring each step of a project is efficient and effective. However, managing those repetitive tasks time and time again for every project can be a waste of time, money, and resources.

Managing projects involves repetitive tasks. Reinventing a framework or process for accomplishing those tasks for every project can be better managed with an automated process.

By adopting a robust project management software, project managers can automate repetitive tasks, which saves money and also allows team members to focus on the more challenging tasks and project goals.

7. Assesses Risks. One of the key components of project management is analyzing a project specifically with risk assessment in mind. This is another area where experience in using these skills leads to better outcomes with each passing project.

Excellent project managers can analyze the potential risks of a project before kick off, and also establish a risk response and management plan to mitigate those risks.

8. Leads By Example. Project managers can be super analytical, creative and critical thinkers, and project methodology wizards, however, many project managers lack solid soft or “people” skills, which hurts their ability to serve as good leaders.

A truly successful project manager is one with astounding leadership abilities. These include excellent written and oral communications, excellent listening skills, and motivating team members, creating a collaborative culture, especially when working on challenging or complicated projects.

How the PMP Certification Can Benefit Your Project Management Career

Now that you understand the value of project management and how it plays a crucial role in various businesses and industries, earning the PMP certification can accelerate your project management career.

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Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

However, isn’t earning a PMP certification expensive? Yes, but isn’t your future and your career worth the investment? Many project managers have considered taking the PMP exam and earning the official PMP certification, however, the biggest complaints are that the exam is incredibly difficult and expensive.

The official PMP exam fee is $400 (at the time of this writing), and purchasing test materials or enrolling in a PMP exam prep course can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the program and institution. It can also require three to six months of study and research to (maybe) pass the exam.

So, why bother? The fact is earning the PMP certification is really a lifetime investment and one that is well worth it, especially if you are certain you want to continue your career as a project manager.

Consider this example:

Let’s say you spend the $400 to take the PMP exam, $3,000 for an exam prep course, and maybe another $100 or so for prep materials, such as books or eBooks, for an even $3,500.

Now, according to a recent Project Management Salary Survey from the Project Management Institute (PMI®), professionals who earned their official PMP certification earned an average of 20 percent more than those without it. Depending on the project management role and industry, project managers with the PMP credential can earn up to and over $100,000 a year.

If you could earn at least $100,000 a year, doesn’t that initial investment of $3,500 suddenly seem worth it?

Furthermore, think about what you could earn after 10, 15, or even 20 years as a certified project manager…

Now, how is that for ROI?

Give Your Project Management Career A Boost

So, if you are ready to give your project management career a serious boost, consider earning the PMP certification and taking a professional PMP exam preparation course. Project Vanguards understands how earning the PMP credential can significantly impact a professional’s project management career as well as stay ahead of the curve in today’s economy.

Project Vanguards offers professional training in earning the PMP credential and taking the PMP exam, and also guarantees a 100 percent first-time pass rate.

The start of a high-paying and fulfilling project management career begins here.

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