History and evolution of the PMP Certification

History and evolution of the PMP Certification

Last updated on 13th Oct 2020, Artciles, Blog

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PMP® Certification

The first report of the Certification Committee, chaired by M. Dean Martin, appeared in the December 1983 edition of PMQ (Project Management Quarterly- now known as the Project Management Journal). It noted that 86 percent of PMI® members surveyed favored “some type of certification program.” A detailed report was published in the March 1984 PMJ, “The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Program: Certifying Project Managers.” It detailed the process for becoming certified and identified the three areas in which points could be earned towards certification: education, experience, and service.

It has since become the de facto standard in the world of Project Management certifications. In 2007 it earned the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

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To obtain a PMI® credential, candidates must first document that they have met the required education and experience requirements. They must then pass an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions. To maintain most PMI® credentials, holders must earn Professional Development Units (PDUs), which can be earned in a variety of ways -such as taking classes, attending PMI® global congresses, contributing to professional research or writing and publishing papers on the subject.

There are currently 618,933 active PMP® certified individuals and 272 chartered chapters across 104 countries worldwide.

History of the PMP® Certification

  • It all started with the ESA Report published in August 1983 in PMQ (Project Management Quarterly -now known as the Project Management Journal). ESA Stands for Project Management Ethics, Standards, Accreditation.
  • The ESA report talked about a Code of Ethics for project management, a framework for the unique body of project management knowledge- critical to the recognition of the project management profession and developing minimum standards for entry into the field. All in all, the work of the ESA Project presented in the ESA Report proved to be a key development in the field of project management evolving into a project management profession.
  • An important concept was enunciated in the report. It was recognized that the body of knowledge of project management (now known as PMBOK® Guide) would continually evolve as the theory and practice of the area are defined and refined.
  • Baseline concepts of the content and character of PM were identified. Six areas of knowledge were identified: Human Resources Management, Cost Management, Time Management, Communication Management, Scope Management, and Quality Management.

Evolution of PMBOK® Guide(Project Management Body of Knowledge)

The first-ever edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 1996 by PMI®. PMI® felt the need to put together an official document and guide to advance the development of the project management profession. It initiated a project in 1981 to develop the procedures and concepts necessary to support the development of project management as a profession.

The ESA Report was published in 1983, and guidelines for the Project Management Professional Certification were also created (the first-ever PMP® certification was awarded in 1984). The special report underwent further development and expansion during the subsequent years and in 1987, “The Project Management Body of Knowledge”, was published as a standalone document. It was an attempt to document and standardize accepted project management information and practices. Finally, after extensive consultation and revision, the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) was published in 1996 to supersede the previous documents. This was known as the PMBOK® Guide – 1st Edition.

In 2000, the second edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published. New materials reflecting the growth of the project management profession were included in the new edition. It aimed to include standard knowhow and practices in the field of project management that were useful and valuable to most projects.

The third edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 2004. One major change to the PMBOK® Guide in this edition was to evaluate project management practices based on what was “generally recognized as good practice on most projects most of the time”. This essentially means that the project management practices included in the PMBOK® Guide would be useful to most projects.

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The fourth edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 2009, five years after the publication of the 3rd Edition. This edition aimed to make the contents of the PMBOK® Guide more consistent and accessible. The widely recognized “triple constraints” for project management were expanded to six, namely, scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risk. 

The current PMBOK® Guide — the Fifth Edition- was released in 2013. This edition attempts to include advancements in the field of project management – in particular, rolling wave planning and adaptive lifecycle- in its contents.

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