A project management professional (PMP) is a highly-regarded career designation certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The designation ensures standardized methodologies for all persons who have earned it in all parts of the world. A certified project management professional is crucial in the selection, development, execution, and completion of business projects in many different industries.
Prerequisites for taking the exam leading to the project management professional designation include a specified number of hours of work experience as a project manager as well as related education. The employment and education criteria vary, but usually a bachelor's degree that includes courses in communications, economics, or human resources, and at least two years experience as a project manager are required. Candidates without a bachelor's degree, but with at least five years experience as a project manager plus some education that relates to project management, may still be permitted to take the exam.
The project management professional exam requires at least 100 hours of study time, double that for those with less education and experience in project management. The four-hour computerized exam has 200 test questions relating to project initiation, planning, execution, supervision, and closing. Practice tests or study tests are available. Candidates are usually allowed three attempts at passing the exam within a one year period.
A PMP understands issues such as risk management, stakeholder analysis, resource management, team performance analysis, and project performance analysis. He or she knows how to deliver cost effective projects on time. Strategic planning ability, resourceful problem solving, and an understanding of concepts such as statistics and cost-volume analysis, are some of the skills required by a project management professional. This person must also have good team development skills and be able to resolve conflicts quickly. An ability to quickly understand various project software is crucial for the role, as a project could consist of designing new products, improving logistics management, or restructuring company operations.
A research project management professional has the added responsibility of assumption management since the projects are more experimental than in regular project management. Risk management becomes even more important, and the necessary structure of funded research teams complicates organization and delegation aspects of regular project management. While a PMP carefully plans the desired outcome, that cannot be the case in research project management where the outcome is unknown.