July 16, 2013
Do Post-Docs Need a PMP Certification?
Mentoring a PMP Aspirant in Evaluating Certification Need & Strategizing Exam Prep.
AJ* is an accomplished scientist with publications in the area of Cancer Research. However, he works in an environment which allows for all the freedom of experimentation, without the constraints of accountability or support for managed projects. He has observed patterns of negative productivity which he wishes to break.
The current methods of training new scientists involve very little pre-mortem analysis of the use of training grants. NIH is changing that, and so there is hope. But it will take a while before the culture trickles down to the mentoring and training of new investigators who function as post-docs for years on end without a clear plan to create the right deliverables (publications with high impact factor). Issues like half completed projects with data gathering dust in the digital shelves is not uncommon. Not all PIs (Principal Investigators) manage their outfits this way, but there are stories one hears which warrant the acquisition of two skills: Project Management for investigators managing a couple of projects and Portfolio Management for PIs with multiple projects, mentees and investigators.
AJ had made the right choice, IMHO, to pursue a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. This will validate his existing experience managing all phases of drug development, acquired at a leading pharmaceutical company. The PMI framework will help formulating past, present and future work within the universal framework and help the allocation of limited resources over productive endeavors.
AJ made the mistake that I made too: starting prep for PMP certification using the Guide to the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) . The PMBOK Guide is not PMBOK. The PMBOK guide is a table of contents to the large universe of knowledge that can be applied to project management. Also the exam cannot be passed by studying up on the PMBOK Guide.
Fortunately AJ possesses the right experiences in life-cycle management and project management that will make his prep interesting and help him tame his sphere of work, do justice to opportunities and squash the bugs of waste.
* Name Changed for Privacy
Prezi about prep (based on Ed4 of PMBOK Guide)