Titolo articolo

Beyond PM Certifications: The Broken Thread

Gli autori Bruna BERGAMI, Andrea CACCAMESE, Tiziano VILLA


Originally published as a part of 2008 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Sydney, Australia


In the last few years Project Management Certifications have taken on worldwide. An increasing number of Companies and Individuals, working by projects in various market sectors, invest in Project Management Certifications at both Company and personal level.

A Research Project recently carried out in Italy by the PMI®-Northern Italy Chapter confirms this trend. Companies believe that PM Certifications are a key asset for improving their market results and for effectively managing project-based organizational dynamics. Individuals show they understand that PM Certifications are an essential step for their professional development, for increasing their self-esteem, and for coping with more complex project environments.

A shared vision upon the value of PM Certifications is the “thread” that connects Companies and Individuals with regard to motivation and willingness to invest. Along this thread there are different knots. Each knot represents a connection focused on a specific issue (for example, Company and individual priorities in obtaining PM Certification). Knots must be tight: the connections must be well understood and at the same time well protected for balancing in the course of time the expectations and the results concerning PM Certification issues.

But what happens after PM Certifications have been obtained? The thread is often broken and an organizational vacuum occurs. On the one hand Companies show inertia in their awareness and exploitation of PM Certifications. On the other hand, certified Individuals obtain significant professional results, but career prospects, earning expectations and other personal returns are limited and they feel sorry for themselves.

This paper aims to discuss characteristics and causes of the broken thread and, where and when it is broken, it suggests effective ways to re-knot it. The first part of the presentation is focused on the framework and the main findings of the Research Project, highlighting the post-Certification phase as a critical issue both for Individuals and Companies. The central part of the presentation analyzes the possible causes for this gap, such as disconnections between Staff and Line functions within the organization, poor sense of Community among Certified Project Managers, limited consideration of Project Management assets inside the Company HR management system. Finally, the presentation outlines specific actions to address critical issues and general guidelines for filling the gap from the top (Company Organization) and the bottom (Certified Project Managers). Additionally, the contents of the presentation may be used as a benchmark for analyzing critical issues of the PM post-Certification phase, regardless of the specific geographical context.