Project Management Certifications – What Next?


A project management credential is a great way to show that you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to efficiently manage projects. It goes some way towards contributing to overall success in delivering projects. I caveat this, as it does not guarantee success. Every experienced project managers (PMs) know it help to be accustomed with the various methods and tools prevalent in project management, but project management is a much more challenging discipline.

A project management credential demonstrates a willingness to align your project management skills towards proven and established standards. These days with the problematic economy and lack of employment opportunities, it has become more typical to have at least one project management credential under your belt.

I have attained four professional qualifications and have become a PRINCE2 Practitioner and a Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner.

PRINCE2 has become the de facto standard. Certainly in the UK. More apparent since 2008, when the job market for PMs become more difficult.

Prior to 2008, many experienced PMs saw little value in attaining these project management credentials. It was debateable whether they were worth your time and effort.

Today, project management credentials, especially PRINCE2 are a prerequisite, just check out the PM job specifications on any of the UK job boards.

But where is this heading?

Having project management credentials was once a differentiator. Not so today. So being certified in at least one credential becomes the norm. In order to differentiate you need another credential. And so on.

PRINCE2 Practitioner certification is even being pursued by non-PMs. I recently come across sales representatives and event organisers, who work in non-PM roles, that are studying for or have attained the certification.

Are experienced PMs expected to do more? A few years ago I opted to invest time, effort and monies in attaining a second credential, the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) qualifications. I achieved the MSP Practitioner credential in 2009. Since then I have noticed more people becoming MSP Practitioners. But the credential does not occur very frequently, certainly not as a mandatory requirement by employers.  Maybe my efforts would have been better spent on another credential.

So if you’ve already have achieved the PRINCE2 Practitioner and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner credentials, what other credentials are worth the investment of time, effort and money in order to differentiate yourself in todays competitive market?

What is the next credential that employers expect their experienced PMs to possess? I expect many PMs would love to know the answer.

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2 responses to “Project Management Certifications – What Next?

  1. I agree, certification used to be a differentiator, but nowadays it’s just a way to blend into the crowd. Maybe it should be expressed another way: ‘If you don’t have a certificate you’re also differentiating yourself, but then in the negative way’.

    The only way you can differentiate yourself nowadays is to show that you’re experienced and that you’re willing to continuesly improve your skills and competences.

  2. I too have completed PRINCE2 (Foundation and Practitioner), MSP (Foundation) and P3O (Foundation, Practitioner and Trainer). I will be sitting MoP (Management of Portfolio’s) in the new year too.

    I only sat MSP Foundation because I recommend people only sit Practitioner if they want to be a career Programme manager and advanced practitioner if you want to become a trainer. My career focuses are more at P3O (PMO) and Portfolio Level. I recommend the P3O courses for anyone working in a P3O or sponsoring one. Happy to answer any questions on P3O and MoP (once I have completed it).

    The OGC standards and Guides have also become defacto standard in Australia for Government at least.

    You are right, having credentials/qualifications helps you stand out from the crowd but should not be a replacement for quality experience.

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