Why should you certify for project management and other change roles?

Woman at desk at home with laptop and credit card considering which PPM certification to purchase

Many people can change roles in an organization and – suddenly – from being a specialist, operational person they’re thrown into managing a project.

The “accidental project manager” might have leadership and management skills for business as usual (BAU) activity plus credibility in the business but are then faced with something huge and don’t know how to structure an approach.

Other challenges include:

  • Getting buy-in for the approach you’re using
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead
  • Using a new language and processes
  • Acknowledging the need for project management to deliver what the company needs.

Working without PPM certification

In a project and programme management (PPM) role, you can end up “walking around in the dark” without a recognized certification.

Where BAU roles deal with tasks this week or this month at most, a project or programme is looking forward from six months to five years. This more distant planning period needs particular processes, principles, techniques and skills.

So, studying a PPM method and passing an exam gives you knowledge, techniques and the confidence to adopt an approach and justify it to your organization. It’s worth noting that having a final exam ensures greater focus from trainees during a course.

And, in the job market, having a certification is more likely to get you an interview. It won’t necessarily get you the job, but having the right certification ensures your CV passes through the first stage and proves you have a level of professional understanding.

Choosing the PPM certification for you

How do you decide what certification is right for you? Often, that’s dictated by what your organization wants you to do:

1. Project management

If you’re delivering a set of outputs, i.e. products and solutions, to meet a specific business need defined by a business case – and which will help achieve the organization’s objectives – you need to certify in a project management method like PRINCE2®.

2. Combining structure and agile methods

If you’re trying to:

  • retain the structure, governance and controls already used within your organization while,
  • being able to work with agile concepts, methods and techniques to
  • deliver value to your organization incrementally –

You need to certify in a method such as PRINCE2 Agile®.

3. Programme management

If you’re co-ordinating several related projects to ensure they deliver a coherent capability to the business, enabling outcomes and benefits to deliver strategic business objectives, you’re working in programme management.

So, you need a method such as Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) .

4. Portfolio management

If you’re helping the organization prioritize its programmes and projects to:

  • align these initiatives to the organizational objectives
  • monitor their ongoing progress and benefits realization

You’re a portfolio manager and, therefore, you need a method such as MoP® – Portfolio Management.

5. Promoting enterprise agility

If you’re trying to promote enterprise agility, i.e. equipping everyone in your organization for transformational change and helping them to embrace it, you need to explore a certification in AgileSHIFT®.

6. Implementing risk management

If you’re implementing effective risk management across your organization, portfolio or within a specific programme, project or even within BAU, the certification you need is Management of Risk (M_o_R®).

7. Creating an overall structure for organizational change

If you’re aiming to establish a Portfolio, Programme or Project Offices model to provide a support structure for all change within an organization, you will benefit from certification in P3O® .

Certification – a career path

Whatever your current PPM role and objectives, it’s clear that technology and the increasing pace of change will inevitably have an impact on your role and responsibilities.

So, learning about other, closely-related disciplines will help you broaden your horizons and capability. For example, you might be a risk manager who obtains a PRINCE2 certification to expand your project management knowledge.

And don’t forget the value of Continuing Professional Development (CPD): employers want people up-to-date with current trends in workplaces that are evolving constantly.

Investing in certifications relevant to your current and future roles is about treating PPM as a long term and rewarding career path.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Michelle Rowland

How to communicate effectively with stakeholders in project management

PMOs and project reviews – building project management excellence

MSP® Practitioner exam tips and advice

PRINCE2 Agile for Practitioners - How Using Agile Will Help Support the PRINCE2® Principles

Most common questions from PRINCE2® Foundation training - Chapters 1-6

Most common questions from PRINCE2® Foundation training - Chapters 7-10

Most common questions from PRINCE2® Foundation training - Chapters 11-18

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