I'm currently training to PMP certification, rehearsing processes, knowledge areas, phases, and linking back to my previous experiences as project manager on different kind of projects (size, location, subcontractors...). I found interesting to share with those who hesitate 5 reasons to get PMP certified.
1. Emphasize your experience
As you should know, any job is temporary. Even if you're happy in a company which is mature in terms of project management, you always sit on an ejection seat, and time to ejection mainly depends on factors far beyond your sphere of control : macroeconomics, market conditions...
To favor the odds, you've got to demonstrate that your experience counts a lot. Results on previously managed projects count, of course, but assurance that these results are reproducible in the future as they come from a structured methodology, a strong and proven way of working and not from good circumstances (a cool customer, an oversized budget or timescale, a screwed supplier to refund your mistakes...).
This is what certification brings to future recruiters : you master a proven method which will support your future successes !
2. Put things into perspective
What is better than a framework distilled from dozen of thousands days of practice to help you put things in perspective ?
If you pause and look back into the rear-view mirror, have you ever felt like you didn't do the best thing you could do without any precise idea of what this best thing could be ? Personally, I did experience this feeling. When a project is over, you've the full set of information available to know that there are some decisions you shall have avoided, some activities you could have conducted in a more efficient way... Easy to say, not being anymore into the nitty-gritty details of day-to-day management, hmmm ?
PMBoK equip you with new keys to decode your past successes and failures, helping you to capture more lessons and, therefore, improve your future performance.
3. Plant the seed of continuous improvement
After having revisited your past experiences, it's time to improve !
The 2 pillars of progress are vision and reference: indeed you've got to know where you are, and where you wanna go.
A PMP certification pushes you to delve into PMBoK details, helping you knowing where you stand (refer to item #2 of the list) while reviewing your past experience. It also provide you with a structure to which you can compare your practice, and align if you're not already mature on some knowledge areas or phases.
Personally, reading PMBoK was enlighting on costs management area. I used to track costs, and estimate ETC without relating these metrics to "what had been planned to perform this amount of work". Reading PMBok and Earned Value Project Management was eyes-opening and I immediately implemented an Excel tool which allowed me to consolidate Earned Value metrics from my 8000 tasks Clarity schedules.
There's always room from improvement...
4. Involve into a professional community
Being PMP certified (and member of PMI to get the full value of it) make you part of a community. You're not alone !
You realize that others are facing the same issues as yours, even in businesses completely different from yours, and guess what ? Others before faced the same troubles, overcame these and shared knowledge within community...
You can also have the satisfaction of sharing your experience and help younger project managers to improve ! That's a Win-Win deal !
5. Get global !
Business is all about relationships and trust.
PMP certification is global, and allows you to master a common ground of vocabulary with colleagues all over the world. This fosters mutual understanding and thus trust when talking about opportunities or drafting projects outlines.
This simple fact can give you a competitive advantage.
In parallel with Capgemini internal Engagement Manager certification process, I chose to take the opportunity of PMP certification to provide even more value to my 10 years experience in IT project management. Next steps : Training sessions in October, November and December. I hope I'll add a "PMP" tag to my LinkedIn profile early in 2014... I'll let you know !