Are there too many project management qualifications?

I received telephone call from a very confused person. Allow me to explain. Janet (not her real name – she has given me permission to write about this) is really keen to create a project management career. She had done a large amount of research (“too much” was what she said) and wants to develop her knowledge and skills and they sought advice on the ‘best qualification’ to take.She had gone into some depth with her research and come up with PRINCE2, ITIL, APM, PMI and has also seen the newly published P3M3 model – a new project management maturity model (an organisational model) which is delivered through focussing on some core modules e.g. stakeholder management, finance etc.

During the discussion she said that it was ridiculous there were so many qualifications. She felt that this was counter productive to good project management practice. I agreed with her.

I receive similar calls from people who are confused and worried that the course of action they will take will influence their future. We had along discussion and she clearly needed some guidance on the best way forward. She has gone away to ponder her options which includes raising some cash to pay for whichever option she chooses.

I was left wondering whether the “project management industry” had done this person and others any favours. The career route for people engaged in project management is far from clear. Plus, the career route focuses on the “hard skills” of project management and omits one very important element; people.

Are there too many qualifications? Are the awarding bodies working together or in isolation (clearly the latter) and are all the qualifications worth while. These are not my questions. These are questions raised by this perplexed individual who by the sound of it is really thinking twice about whether to move into project management.

So, awarding bodies, over to you! Let’s have some clearer career paths. Let’s clarify rather than confuse and let’s focus on helping people deliver projects!

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2 Responses to Are there too many project management qualifications?

  1. Lindsay says:

    I thought the project management qualifications were pretty clear – APM for career development in project management through levels of capability, PRINCE2 if you’re just looking for a specific method of delivery training (same goes MoR, MSP) and PMI if your organisation prefers the Amercian method of career development in project management. The issue I have (and unfortunately a lot of people are being led down this path) are people assuming that the PRINCE2 accreditation and training will give people the basics e.g., how to plan a project, how to develop a risk management technique etc. If this is what people are looking for APM and PMI are the way to go – PRINCE2 is only one method

  2. In my view APM qualifications (especially the APMP) provide project management fundamentals, tools to help undertake project management, and techniques to support project manaegment. I think the PMI PMP is similar. I see PRINCE2 as a project management framework, which can be coupled with APMP and other quaklifications.

    I agree with Lindsay, that people are viewing PRINCE2 as the ‘defacto’ project management qualification, and that this is all one needs. PRINCE2 is a framework for project manaegment approach, it is not intended to provide project management basics.

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