Talent TriangleThe project management world is in bit of a panic as the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) change for all certification holders. In summary, PMI has mandated that all certification holders maintain their certification by acquiring Professional Development Units (PDUs) in 2 categories:

Giving Back: 25 PDUs for volunteering, creating knowledge and working as a professional.

Education: 35 PDUs with at least 8 PDUs in each of the 3 sections of the Talent Triangle, Technical Project Management, Leadership and Strategic and Business management. Remaining PDUs can go into any of the 3 sections. It’s this category that has some folks concerned. In the past, PMI was very liberal about awarding PDU’s for just about anything. It there was management in the title then you could get PDUs. This has all changed. Now we have to work at finding the right PDU’s.

I don’t often say this but I applaud PMI! As project management professionals, we need to stay relevant and our certifications must maintain their value. Asking us to stay educated in these 3 areas is not unreasonable. I like to believe I have a good understanding of technical project management but I can always learn more. Personally, I would like to improve my leadership and business acumen skills. Being able to connect real business value to our project’s output is a skill we all must obtain (plus its being tested on the new PMP®1 exam J).

I encourage you to think about this as an opportunity, not a threat. Here are thoughts to consider:

  1. Obtain PDUs that enrich your career. Ask yourself, what do I want to do next? Where are my shortcomings? What interests me as a business leader? Answer these questions and go find the classes. For example, how can you better motivate your team (leadership)? How can you better understand regulatory and financial management? (strategic & business management)?
  2. Plan how you will obtain your PDUs. You have 3 years to get your PDUs! Don’t wait until the last minute! Create goals and write them down. Plan how and when you will get your PDUs at the beginning of Year 1. Share this plan with your supervisors and get approval. Your supervisors will respect your proactive approach.
  3. Bundle your PDU’s toward an objective. For example, if you want to enhance your career or your organization toward agile practices, take an agile course (technical project management), an organizational change management class that will help you implement agile and change your project management culture (leadership), and finally a project management class to help your track and communicate business benefits to help you demonstrate the financial value of implementing agile (strategic and business management).
  4. Don’t take classes just to get PDUs. Education should educate and lead to change. As a project management instructor I can’t tell you home many times I’ve taught a class, have the students tell me they loved it, and learn months later that no change had occurred in the way they do their jobs. Make a commitment to implement what you’ve learned and encourage management to support your efforts. Easier said than done…I know.

Learning should be fun. Most adult learning environments are safe laboratories where you can challenge and be challenged. Learning should lead to change and improvement for yourself and the organizations you support. Happy Learning!!