Myth #4: It Is Fair To Assume That Acceptable Credentials Are An Indication Of Future Success – Part #2 (Lesson 15)
Credentials of the individuals – the project manager
Starting with project managers, does it make any difference whether an individual holds a PMI, AIPM, Prince2®, or other certification?
To answer this question, start by looking at it from the individual’s perspective:
- Having the qualification can make a difference between getting a job or not, so in that sense, it is valuable to them.
- If they have very little (or no) project management experience, it can certainly provide some indication that they are aware of the concepts and processes involved. However, it provides no reassurance that they have any idea how to control a real-world project.
- For more experienced project managers, in an age where recruiters rely heavily on keyword matching, having the appropriate ‘badge’ for a particular certification can mean the difference between rejection and interview.
Looking at it from the buyer’s perspective, however, if you want to see successful project outcomes, if you do nothing else in terms of validating the supplier’s skill set, you still need to:
- Find out exactly who will be your project manager.
- Find out everything you can about their project management capability.
- Understand what project approach they are likely to use.
- Work out with the supplier how that will fit into your ways of working.
However, I digress. In answer to the question of individual project management certifications and how much weight you should attach to them: in my opinion – none whatsoever. A great project manager remains a great project manager regardless of whether they are qualified or not.
A certificate does not make a great project manager. Experience does.
I have been project managing for about 30 years, and have met some of the most useless ‘qualified project managers’ you could imagine!
Focus on assessing whether the assigned project manager is ‘great’, and whether you are confident in their abilities. And if you are not sure what a great project manager looks like, work with someone who can help you to assess this.
Ideally though, you will have your own project manager on board who will work with all your suppliers on the project. They will manage everyone as a single team, to shared objectives that will achieve Guaranteed Project OutcomesTM.
Having a great project manager on your team can make up for deficiencies in your suppliers’ project manager. This is, in fact, the single role on the entire project or program of work that can have the greatest impact on success – or failure.