My Project Management Institute (PMI) Experience

I joined the San Diego Component of the Project Management Institute (PMI) in January 2007. I stopped being a member in January 2012. This is my commentary on that experience.

I was excited to be part of the PMI-SD Component,  the leadership was impressive and I soon started meeting other friendly and helpful project managers. at the monthly dinner meetings. It took a few months to determine how I could best fit in and make plans for a certification test to help me succeed as a productive PMI member.

Initially I wanted to take the certification test for the Project Management Professional, but was a bit short on those qualifications. Instead for several months I pursued the Certified Associate in Project Management goal and achieved that certification on September 21, 2007.

During the next couple years I attended a few dinner meetings and the San Diego group’s annual conference. I was busy in Newbound, Inc., as the company’s President and couldn’t always attend meetings for PMI-SD.

In the last three years I started to understand the parent organization’s business culture and impact on the local components. The emphasis was on having as many PMP certified members as possible. In the monthly and quarterly magazines, the majority of the articles spoke of PMP’s and hardly ever about CAPM’s. This was disconcerting to me.

I paid the same dues as PMP’s yet fellow members with the CAPM certification were not recognized with the same value as PMP’s.

I wrote an email to the Editor of the magazine about the lack of CAPM coverage and acknowledgement of CAPM participation in the magazine coverage. A few months later some articles mentioning CAPM’s started appearing in the magazines, but never in leadership roles of a project. This was a gross oversight on PMI’s part, in my humble opinion.

Some CAPM’s are just as capable to handle entire large projects as PMP’s are.

For PMP’s, they are required to maintain a level of continuing education by earning PDU’s in sufficient quantity to AVOID retaking the stressful PMP Exam. PDU’s are earned by a variety of methods including attending monthly meetings, seminars, conferences, approved classes, and independent studies.

Throughout my membership I continued to maintain my project management skills through additional formal online classes and seminars offered by PMI-SD. I purchased the new PMI PMBOK book and studied the updated aspects of the excellent foundational domain document.

I did all those things, but could not earn PDU’s for doing so.

During the last two years of my PMI-SD membership, I volunteered a great many hours to help the component. I worked on two committees, served in an annual conference, worked hard for helping new members while serving on the Membership Committee. I was happy to help where I could. I attended almost every meeting those last two years to help the PMI-SD’s VP of Membership.

As I said, PMI doesn’t award CAPM’s the opportunity to collect PDU’s to avoid recertification the way PMP’s can.

The apparent discrepancy is to coerce CAPM’s to become PMP’s even when that path doesn’t fit the particular member’s needs.

A PMP certification wasn’t in my future plans after 2008. At this stage of my career it would serve no purpose to devote the hours to study and complete the other requirements just to have a PMP title.

I felt I had the same level of knowledge as a PMP, but that perspective is not shared by PMI.

After my membership in PMI expired last January I was sent a survey from PMI asking why I did not renew my membership. I responded in writing informing PMI that I felt CAPM’s deserve to earn PDU’s to avoid recertification the same as PMP’s essentially incorporating the logic presented above.

I told them if they changed their rules about CAPM’s nearing retirement age for individuals like me, so they could earn PDU’s to avoid recertification, I would be glad to renew my membership each year and continue to serve my PMI-SD Component. I didn’t even receive a response from them.

Today my formal CAPM certification expires. I retain my project management knowledge in any case. I decided months ago to publish my thoughts today so that others can understand what it’s like for older PMI members and the few choices they have if they briefly hold the CAPM certification.

I enjoyed my time in PMI-SD. I have many friends I made there over the years. I miss them. I was a proud CAPM. Now that phase of my life is over.

My admiration of project management and those I know in PMI-SD remains.

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About Don Larson

Using computer technology since June 1980.
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