The Project Management Institute (PMI)


Many of us have been in the business of managing projects for a long time, and we seem to have done pretty all right for the most part, having faith in our instincts and often going with our gut feeling. Having said that, the ever increasing necessity to modernize has really allowed the field of project management to take off. The present era of project management as we know it today has its beginning in the 1950′s.

At the dawn of this new era a need was felt for a framework of globally accepted and recognized standards, principles, tools and techniques. A small number of project managers acknowledged this need and in 1969 started a non-profit organization called the Project Management Institute or PMI. The PMI started documenting and proposing a number of project management standards, which it released in the form of a “white paper” in 1987. Its objective was to standardize project management knowledge and techniques. The white paper later came to be known as the original “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” or the PMBOK® Guide, and was published for the first time in 1996. This PMBOK guide became globally recognized as the leading standard and offered the standard processes, concepts, areas of knowledge, skill requirements, tools and techniques, and a worldwide discipline of project management. PMI recognized the necessity to take this new discipline of project management into the 21st century and make it official by creating a test for project managers worldwide to verify their capability to fully grasp the new standards. In order to do this, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam was launched by the PMI in 1994. Since then, the PMP certification has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity.

If you would like to confirm the emerging demand for certified PMPs, just take a look at the job postings for project managers. A few years ago, an ad for a project manager job would have read, “PMP certification is a plus.” Whereas now, they read, “PMP certification is required.” This is the case for both public and private sector companies and the government agencies as well who are now requiring their Project Managers to get certified.

In order to fulfil this high demand, Project Managers are more motivated than ever to acquire a PMP certification. PMPs have increased exponentially in number since 1998, when there were only around 11,000 of them worldwide. As of July 2010, the official estimate of active PMPs was around 393,413—and this number is growing at the rate of around 4300 new PMPs every month.

For people who do not fulfil the requirement of the three years of Project Management experience which is necessary to go for the PMP certification, there is the option of Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM) credential which is also awarded by the PMI.As of July 2009, there were 8,976 active CAPM certified individuals worldwide—and that number continues to grow.