Project management may not yet be regarded in the same light as one of the traditional professions but more and more large organisations are becoming committed to improving the standards of their project management professionals in an attempt to improve complex project delivery. In the UK, organisations such as BAA, Costain and Network Rail are amongst those that already appreciate the benefits of the highest levels of professional standards in project management.
With the introduction of standards of professionalism such as the APM’s RPP (Registered Project Professional) credential it is becoming easier for project managers to acquire internationally recognised status which shows their ability to deliver projects to the very highest levels of excellence. This credential requires a project manager to demonstrate the following abilities:
- be a competent leader
- manage complex projects
- use relevant techniques, tools and processes
To obtain a credential such as the APM RPP a project manager must meet strict criteria regarding their previous project experience in order to be able to apply for registered status. They must submit a written portfolio of evidence detailing their past experience of large, complex projects and undergo a professional review in the form of an assessment interview. As in the traditional professions, the APM RPP also requires a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD).
But the benefits to individual project managers in terms of their career development are huge and will give them a distinct advantage over project managers without such credentials. Perhaps more importantly, it also improves the success rate of projects for employers. For many organisations the credentials of their project managers are an indication of the company’s abilities to meet their customers demand for professional completion of projects. It enables such companies to differentiate themselves from the competition and gives potential customers confidence that the project manager is highly competent in delivering complex projects successfully and in a professional manner.
With a number of high profile project failures over recent years, project managers and the project management profession in general may be in danger of developing a poor reputation for completing complex projects. Of course, as with any news it is always the bad news – the news of the failures – that make headlines and stick in our minds. The many successful projects delivered in the UK and all over the world are going quietly unremarked. But, even so, the opportunity to gain a recognised standard in professionalism will do much to improve the image of the profession. It may also make it a more appealing long-term career path to the many project managers who have ended up in the role by accident rather than by design.
So the status gained through the APM RPP (and qualifications from other APM project management courses) is a valuable asset for a project manager’s personal development but it also enhances the professional standing of organisations whose project managers have this status and is an indication that they are not only well-qualified but also up-to-date with their skills.
There are workshops available for those who wish to achieve this international recognition of their project management skills. These workshops maximise the chances of gaining such a prestigious credential as the APM RPP; they guide project managers on the best way to present evidence of their past experience in their written portfolio and also how to most effectively articulate their relevant skills and experience during the professional review.
So who knows, one day the project management profession may be just as well-regarded as law or accountancy.