Since 2001 the PMI Frankfurt Chapter regularly conducts the PMP Prep Program (P3). Already the 4th Edition of the PMBoK® is basis for learning at the current P3 (No. 19). More than 120 candidates have been coached by us, and only 15 of them (as far as we know) have not passed the PMP exam !
When we crossed the One Hundred mark we wanted to find an answer to the all-time posted question: What’s the benefit of the certification – for the PMP himself and of course for his company? In December 2005 we mailed a survey to the alumni of our P3s containing 18 questions ranging from “what has changed for you?” to “what types of continuing education have you done?”, and “where is difference between the project performance by professional project management and non-professionals?”. By combining the answers we were able to draw some conclusions regarding the above questions.
First of all: A more than satisfactory response of 41 questionnaires (=43%) underlined the high interest in the community, but the sample is still too small to claim statistical representation. For us it was more important to get a first feeling for a trend and a feasible approach for more extensive research with comprehensive project data.
And with this we were successful. Some of the key findings of the survey in a short summary:
- All participants have profited from the P3 course, including the non-PMPs. Biggest benefit is a more “conscious” project management, which often is passed on to colleagues.
- This shows especially the way in which the PM has improved. Most often comments were “more thorough and consequent scope and risk management”, followed by “better activity and cost estimation and control”.
- The biggest change happened with nearly all respondents with a significantly better standing and acknowledgement of their competence as PM. Only a few have really changed jobs because of the PMP. Most of those who stayed in their job have been assigned more responsibility. Higher salary plays a subordinate role.
- The PMP on it own rarely seems to lead to higher compensation – but in combination with continuous education, specialization and/or change of position quite often, particularly since it leverages the individual PM performance.
- Experience and practice is also important for salary and performance: the “old dogs” from the first P3 courses responded with significantly higher improvement rates.
So much for the concerning personal benefits. How do the companies benefit from the higher qualification of their employees?
- Let’s first look at the status as is: Business Case and strategic goals are usually met well (most answers here come from consulting). Also achieving scope and quality are strongly developed (esp. in manufacturing). the black sheep are still the schedules and costs.
- Combining the ratio of successful projects without or prior to utilizing educated PMs with the respondent’s personal performance improvement indicates big potential. Average increases of between3.7% for remaining on schedule and up to 7.1% for reaching the business case are a sign that PM education is a profitable investment!
- SPI and CPI improvements of around 10% each are also promising improvements. That means that in our sample the qualification of the PMs achieved a better project ROI of 10 cents per Euro invested in the project. In performance we find a 10% improvement on meeting the baselines.
- Though this is still not always the case, more and more customers explicitly request certified project managers from suppliers for their initiatives. The majority of them are ready to pay higher fees for this!
- More good news: In a surprisingly large number of companies the PMP is not the exception, PM standards and PM careers are being promoted. But PM know-how on the executive level still is the rare exception.
This is only a short summary of the survey’s results. The complete analysis can be downloaded following the link below.
For us this survey is a first step towards evaluating and quantifying the benefits of a recognized qualification in project management – for the individual PMP as well as for their supporting organization. Most answers in the questionnaire reflect subjective judgments of the candidates. A more detailed and extended research of real project data and lessons learned, supported by the field and companies should produce more specific, precise and resistant results.
Results of the survey at alumnis of the PMP Prep Programmes of PMI Frankfurt Chapters e.V. in december/january 2005/2006: