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.