The Right Way, the Wrong Way and the PMI Way

We are in the middle of a busy training period leading up to the change in the PMP exam. Several candidates have commented on needing to learn the PMI way rather than the real world way for their exam.

The idea that the PMI way is not real world is a very wrong assumption!

There are several factors that may make the PMI way different to your way but they are based on sound concepts. Some of the factors that create a difference are:

  • The PMBOK® Guide is a knowledge framework that contains processes that are generally applicable to most projects, most of the time. The consequence of this is the processes need tailoring for specific projects. The PMP and CAPM exams are generic and world wide they focus on answers that are likely to be correct for most people most of the time.
  • The PMBOK is developed by hundreds of project managers from around the world. The result is a coordinated amalgam of ideas. The PMP exam is based on the information in the PMBOK and information drawn from a range of text books written by leading authors. All of the correct answers are based on information from people with significant project management know-how. This may be different to yours but it is valid.
  • PMI has aspirations for the profession of project management. Some underlying themes found in the majority of questions such as the high level of proficiency of the performing organisation and the professional competence of the project managers may be a stretch based on the culture of your organisation but are highly desirable aims and are not unrealistic.

Building a major oil platform in the North Sea is different to writing a small software patch in Bangalore (and both are projects) so the exams will always contain elements that are not right for your projects.

This does not devalue the way you do your projects. As long as the projects your organisation manages are constantly delivered on time, on budget, on scope and fully satisfying all of the key stakeholders. If this happens,  your organisations approach to project management is obviously right in the context you are working in. It is just your way is different to the generally accepted way most successful projects are delivered world-wide and the PMI exams are focused on this generally accepted view of good practice.

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2 responses to “The Right Way, the Wrong Way and the PMI Way

  1. Pat,
    I must say that the PMI way for Risk Management is not the way those of us tasked with risk management are guided by the US DoD.
    Chapter 12 in PMBOK is not compliant with the DoD Risk Managers Guidebook, the SEI Continuous Risk Management processes, or the NASA Risk Management Guidebook.
    The PMBOK chapter might be considered naive at best and not very useful at worse.
    For program we work, the Risk Management processes start with the Systems Engineering Management Procedure (SEMP) and flow through the DoD top level guide, down to the service (NAVAIR is one we’re working) guidelines, down to the programs guidelines. All tied back to the DoD Handbook.
    In our studies for the PMP-RMP we haveto “unlearn” what our clients use on a daily basis and concentrate on the PMBOK wording in order to pass the PMP-RMP exam.
    While I agree the PMI is making great progress with PMBOK 4th edition, there are still some gaps in the “right” way versus the “PMI” in this area.

  2. Pingback: PDUs and the PMI Examination Eligibility Requirements « Mosaicproject’s Blog

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