The best and most effective, professional, and inclusive leaders are constantly trying to be better leaders. The good news is that there are a number of programs, courses, boot camps, and workshops all designed to help.
One such certification program that would benefit leaders, but that many overlook, is the PMP certification.
The majority of leaders dismiss taking the PMP exam because they think it is only designed for project managers. Yes, the PMP exam is designed for existing and aspiring project management professionals, however, project managers are only a small population of those professionals. A project is defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique service, product, or result. And since business consists of operations and projects, getting a degree in business, for example, only makes you an expert at the managerial aspects of operations, not projects. If you’re a leader, you need to become an expert at the other 50% of the business, which is project management.
How? In this article, we will dive into the reasons why leaders should take the PMP exam.
What is the PMP Exam?
The PMP exam is the gold standard in project management, covering traditional and agile project management processes, principles, and guidelines.It shows all who see it that you have proficiency in project management, regardless of your professional background, title, or experience. In fact, individuals and professionals spanning 200 countries have earned and maintained their PMP credentials over the course of their careers. Less than 50% of these professionals have ever been or plan to be project managers.
Yes, the PMP shows you are a competent and knowledgeable professional in project management (hence its name “Project Management Professional”), but it also shows you have the skills to make good decisions (especially in difficult situations), drive business results, and make a positive impact on your organization.
6 Reasons Why Leaders Should Take the PMP Exam
1. Drive High Performance
According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, “successful projects require leaders with strong leadership skills.”
Leadership is the core of well-functioning teams, which means successful project deliveries and outcomes. It encompasses a wide range of skills, abilities, decisions, and actions, and is important for teams to achieve high-performance results.
2. Empower Teams to Embrace Change
The thought of change, whether in a project or in an organization, makes many leaders and team members nervous. Change is uncomfortable. It is uncertain. However, as an effective leader, you can lead and empower your team to embrace change and treat it as an opportunity rather than a negative. After all, the change allows organizations to be more “agile” and may instead be referred to as transformation.
By studying and preparing for the PMP exam, leaders learn about various interpersonal styles, behavioral skills and emotional intelligence used in leadership, as well as how to develop an effective change management model, and how to ensure transparency through change.
3. Improve and Streamline Communication
Leaders know how important communication is when leading teams across any organization. Not only will leaders learn different communication methods and strategies but also how to build and execute a communications model, and incorporate it at the right phase.
A communications plan typically includes the following elements:
- Who the stakeholders are, as well as their roles within the organization
- Informal and formal communication channels and technologies
- What communication channels and technologies to use (for example, a project status update versus how an organization will respond to a security breach)
- Communication format and frequency
- Flowcharts (such as Swimlane Diagrams) depicting how information and data flow are exchanged
- Meeting frameworks, processes, and templates
- Processes, policies, and procedures
- Escalation methods (also part of governance)
Additionally, leaders will also learn how to perform a communications assessment for their teams. This allows leaders to understand how their team members prefer to communicate and what styles and formats best meet their needs.
4. Make Better Decisions
In addition to ensuring effective communication, leaders must also make decisions. However, how do they know if they are making the right decision? By earning your official PMP certification, you will learn various decision-making methods, which include the following fundamentals:
Voting versus Autocratic Decision-making
There are advantages and disadvantages to these two techniques. Voting involves sharing decisions with project team members. This technique is similar to polling, where each team member submits his or her “vote” on a decision.
On the other hand, autocratic decision making is when a leader makes decisions on his or her own, and takes responsibility for making decisions that impact the entire team. But did you also know that an autocratic decision is also considered a Group Decision-making technique? For example, a group yields to an expert to make a decision for part of your endeavor, and the decision made by the expert is then categorized as a Group Decision because the group chose to yield power to one person.
Tool for Effective Decision-making
To ensure that leaders make fair decisions, based on logic rather than emotions, one technique involves using a decision matrix. A decision matrix takes a mathematical and analytical approach to evaluate changes according to a set of predefined criteria. This same matrix can also be used to determine and make decisions related to priorities.
A decision tree analysis is a diagramming and calculation technique used for evaluating different decisions and their implications. This technique is best used when decisions involve a lot of uncertainty (risk).
5. Manage Project Failure
As a leader, you may not necessarily manage projects directly, but you likely have to answer to the rest of the organization when failure happens.
However, by earning your official PMP certification, you will learn techniques on how to manage project failure. These techniques include:
- Assessing the probability of project failure
- Assessing the level of criticality if a project fails
- Assessing project outcomes to determine if they were a success or failure
- Calculating project failure costs
6. Spearhead Organizational Growth and Scalability
Scalability is necessary for organizational growth. Leaders who earn their PMP certification will learn how to best leverage people and processes to help position the organization for growth and success.
However, people and processes are managed differently. Leaders must learn how to be effective by encompassing some of the traits, tools, and techniques mentioned throughout this article. They must be adaptive and open to change/transformation, as well as create a healthy project team environment that fosters self-discipline, accountability, collaboration, and creative problem-solving.
Additionally, leaders must implement the right level of oversight by enabling and monitoring the right methodologies, frameworks, and structures to deliver projects, and monitor those processes periodically by instituting a continuous improvement plan.
How the PMP Makes You a Better Leader
As leaders, there is always room to improve. Earning your PMP certification will help you to better understand the role of project management as well as teach you various tools, techniques, and models to implement within your team and organization at-large.
Where to Find PMP Certification Courses
The PMP exam is a challenge, and it is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge as a leader. To ensure passing the PMP exam, consider taking a PMP Exam Preparation course.
A PMP Exam Prep course will not only review the principles and material that the exam covers, but it will also allow you to take a cloned practice PMP exam as well as questions by Knowledge Area and Development Approach (Traditional vs. Agile Projects) so you’ll be fully prepared come exam day!
If you’re looking for the best PMP Exam Prep course in the world, then look no further than Project Vanguards. With lifetime access, free PDU’s to maintain your credential in perpetuity, and live training with their customized Learning Management System all designed to meet your specific schedule and needs, Project Vanguards offers the highest quality professional training and resources to help set you up for success to take and pass your PMP exam on your very first try!