Nov 12, 2009

The Skills Gap

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Project & Program Management, Resource Optimization | 0 Comments

On Thursday, at the PMI conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the conference organizers featured a track of simultaneously translated presentations in English (adding additional complexity to their conference planning ... and pulling it off beautifully, too). The keynote was Greg Balestero, CEO of the Project Management Institute. He spoke on the theme of project management in times of economic stress, and one statistic - to which he kept returning several times during the presentation - seemed particularly significant.

According to research by PMI, there are somewhere between 16 million and 20 million people around the world working on projects. (My personal bias is that it's probably many more than that, but they don't realize they are doing projects!) In contrast, there are only about 400,000 people holding project management certifications of various brands.

Whoa. That's a lot of room for seat-of-the-pants, PM-by-accident, lucky (or unlucky) breaks on projects. Conversely, that's a lot of room for improvement.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that holding a certification doesn't automatically make you a better project manager. But knowledge of the basics is so powerful that providing training - whether or not the recipients go on to achieve certification - is a must for companies that hope to sail through this particular economic stress. That's doubtless why the companies doing the most training also report better organizational performance on a diverse scoreboard of measures, according to our 2009 PM Value study.

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