What is a Project Management Professional?

The Project Management Institute has awarded the designation of project management professional (PMP) to a select group of professionals (PMI). The designation ensures that all people who have earned it in any part of the world use standardized methodologies. In many different industries, a certified project management professional is critical in the selection, development, execution, and completion of business projects.

A specified number of hours of project management work experience, as well as related education, are required to take the exam leading to the project management professional designation. The requirements for employment and education vary, but typically a bachelor’s degree in communications, economics, or human resources, as well as at least two years of project management experience, are required. Candidates without a bachelor’s degree who have at least five years of project management experience and some project management-related education may be allowed to take the exam.

For those with less education and experience in project management, the project management professional exam requires at least 100 hours of study time, which is doubled for those with less education and experience. The four-hour computerized exam consists of 200 questions on project initiation, planning, execution, supervision, and closure. There are practice tests and study tests available. Within a one-year period, candidates are usually given three chances to pass the exam.

Risk management, stakeholder analysis, resource management, team performance analysis, and project performance analysis are all topics that a PMP is familiar with. He or she understands how to complete projects on time and on budget. A project management professional needs to be able to plan strategically, solve problems creatively, and understand concepts like statistics and cost-volume analysis, to name a few. This person must also be able to work well with others and resolve conflicts quickly. Because a project could consist of designing new products, improving logistics management, or restructuring company operations, the ability to quickly understand various project software is critical for the role.

Because research projects are more experimental than regular project management, a research project management professional must also manage assumptions. Risk management becomes even more important, and the required structure of funded research teams makes regular project management more difficult to organize and delegate. While a PMP meticulously plans for a desired outcome, this is not possible in research project management, where the outcome is unknown.