by Linky Van Der Merwe

Should I become a certified PM?

The pros and con of going mainstream

Should I become a certified project manager?
Should I become a certified PM?

You may be an aspiring or existing project manager. If you are new to this profession you are perhaps considering certification to become a professional project manager. If you are an existing project management professional (PMP), you may be in doubt about your on-going training requirements.

This article should give you clarity about the purpose and motivation for becoming a certified project manager and the benefits for staying certified. In this context certification refers to the project management institute’s (PMI) project management professional certification.

To be certified or not

Project management certifications matter.

Especially given the current unpredictable market in which companies must operate and succeed.

Project management certification makes for better project managers and reduces risk of project failure in an organisation.

After the first best practice project management standard was founded, it became apparent that following best practice and hiring certified project managers were crucial to successful project management and, hence, business success.

Five reasons to become a certified PM

1. Research is showing that today’s marketplace is demanding an increase in project management certification. Holding a certification and having the letters PMP, CAPM, PgMP, PMI-RMP or PMI-SP behind your name gives candidates access to greater job prospects and thereby places them in a higher salary bracket.

2. Project management, however, still remains a business skill that is acquired through experience combined with an internationally recognised project management certification, such as PMP from the PMI. The PMI certification currently has the largest footprint and is represented in 238 countries.

3. The Standish Group International, publisher of the CHAOS Report,  says that two-thirds of CIOs surveyed regard a PMI certification as valuable and the number of CIOs who require their project managers to be certified has grown significantly.

4. Certifications such as the PMP and Prince2 help unify teams as each member speaks the same language and uses identical processes when executing projects.This contributes to greater project performance.

5. Project management certification is also important from a governance perspective as certified members sign a code of professional conduct. This automatically provides the employer with confidence that the certified professional acts with integrity and executes tasks with soundness of judgment. This minimises risk within an organisation and enhances the chance of project success.

What comes after certification?

Project management certification is an on-going process and every three years certified professionals must be certified again and maintain their professional status through on-going development and enhancing the project management profession by attending conferences, writing and presenting papers, as well as transferring their skills.

This on-going learning means that certified project managers stay informed about latest project, programme and portfolio management best practices earning professional development units.

Project management professionals stay up-to-date, through the use of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), which assists project managers globally to apply certain standards in project management in order to meet business goals and business intent.


The PMBOK Guide presents a set of standard terminology, guidelines and tools and techniques for project management.

It is non-industry specific and provides project managers with a basis from which to work and can be tweaked to suit each project manager’s project.

Now in its fifth edition, it was first published by the PMI in 1987 as a white paper to document and standardise generally accepted project management information and practices.


It is important to remember that although a certified professional has dedicated thousands of hours and numerous years to pass the exam, exceptional project managers are those who combine that knowledge with passion and strong leadership abilities.

The real test for being an excellent project manager is in the constant application and enhancement of this knowledge.

About the author

Linky van der Merwe is a certified project management professional (PMP) and Founder of Virtual Project Consulting.  She has been a senior project manager at Microsoft Consulting Services South Africa for 5 years. She likes to blog about project management and integrated online communication marketing. Her mission is to provide project management best practices advice and to recommend resources to aspiring and existing project managers. She can be reached at

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Issue 29


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