As we pointed out in the previous PMP certification training post, there's a growing demand for PMP certified project managers. The certification test is extremely difficult. KMC Systems is hosting a Project Management Institute of New Hampshire (PMI NH) Study Group, led by two of our PMP certified program managers, that provides all the essential PMP material for certification success. But more on this later - unless you want to register now!
PMP requirements at KMC
|KMC Systems Program Manager Spencer M. Lovette, PMP, will teach a PMI NH Study Group in Merrimack, N.H.|
KMC Systems Program Manager Spencer M. Lovette, PMP, says the PMP certification for program managers is quickly becoming what the MBA is to business managers. This trend toward requiring PMP certifications isn't just an observation of business economy.
While Lovette and a few others took initiative and were certified last November, KMC Systems - along with all Elbit Systems of America (ESA) companies - began the process of requiring PMP certification for all program managers with training and testing last May.
"Here, a PMP is almost required," Lovette explained, "In a couple of years, I would guess that PMPs will be required here not as a qualification for hiring but as a qualification for keeping your job. If they hire a program manager here now, they probably would say 'look, within two years you have to have your PMP certification or your kind of a short-timer.' I would guess that’s going to be in place within the next year or two."
Register for the PMI NH PMP certification training now to kickstart your project management career path!
PMP improves KMC
PMP certification isn't just for show. The training has improved profitability and processes for KMC Systems and our clients.
"We all know product development programs rarely go the way people want them to, so this Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) was put together by PMI to say we really dissected this," Lovette said, "This is the process that works, and in the interest of providing better contract medical device engineering and manufacturing services more effectively to customers, we have started to put that process in place. If you look at our QSR Systems, we have processes in place for just about everything we do here, and this was an area where the process was somewhat defined but now is more stringently defined so that all the programs and projects will run consistently."
Lovette says this training has helped properly manage the scope of a project. The training teaches you how to communicate project expectations with clients. You aren't telling the customer you won't do something they want; you're telling the customer that you both need to discuss what it would take to implement it.
New project expectations need to be treated as project expansions as opposed to trying to fit new work within the existing budget. When a customer says, "Can you do this?", you want to say yes. You have to say "we’ll work out what you want and we’ll deliver it, and if you want something in addition to that, we’ll be up front about recognizing that with you." You’re really understanding what the impact is going to be, and you can convey that to the customer so they can get on board and agree with you. By doing that, you’ve convinced the customer you really are doing it the right way and are trying to do the right thing for the customer. I think that’s probably the biggest piece of value that comes out of how we’re implementing it here. Everybody wins.
Ready to win at project management? Sign up now!
Manage projects more successfully
With all of the uncertainties involved in running a project, you or your project management team need the skills to make decisions with limited information.
This is not a "if this happens, you do this" course; it’s really teaching you how to make decisions with limited information and all of the steps that are involved in making a project run properly. If you leave some of those steps out, things go wrong. If you do all of those steps, things will probably still go wrong, but it will be less likely and you will have a framework with which to fix it. You have a framework with which to recognize when it’s not going well. By using the processes, you can recognize and track the project financially to find out when it’s going sour, predict when it’s going sour and take corrective action. It also teaches you how to plan a project out so that you can avoid having it go sour. It teaches you how to interact with your stakeholders so that people understand what the requirements are and what the expectations are so you can deliver on those expectations. As it applies to KMC; it’s critically important for us to establish with our customers what they're asking us to do, what the requirements are, what the expectations are, and then putting together a plan to meet those expectations, to show how we’ve met those expectations and, in parallel with all that, do it within a budget and on schedule.
One of the biggest project management challenges covered by the PMI NH Study Group is learning the processes inside and out, then learning how to apply the process structure to make good judgment calls.
KMC Systems is currently revamping our program plan template within the program management department to align it with the PMI program plan. "We’re implementing specific process steps according to the PMI process that we hadn’t been doing here," Lovette said, "For example, work breakdown structures were not well enough understood to be effective. Now that we understand them, we can use them more effectively."
KMC's standardized processes reassure our clients that their medical devices can be developed, designed and manufactured on time and on budget. "The biggest thing is that we can with confidence assure our customers and our potential customers that our program management will occur in a prescribed manner. It’s not random, and different program managers can step into each other’s shoes if somebody's out."
Lovette boasts that "When a customer comes to hire us and asks 'Do you guys know how to do project management?', we can say, 'Yea! Not only can we show you the history of good project management, but we have the certification to prove it. And it shouldn’t matter a lot which program manager you get because we’re all equally trained and capable.'”
Join the PMI NH PMP certification training course
Lovette and fellow KMC Program Manager Paul Dahlstrom, PMP, will teach the Merrimack PMI New Hampshire Study Group to anyone who's serious about project management.
Anyone can take the course to learn the processes involved in running a project, but a certain number of hours of project management experience are required for PMP certification. Check out the PMI Certification page for PMP requirements and more information.
Register for the training to manage projects more effectively and efficiently. Merrimack, N.H., classes meet at the KMC Systems and Elbit Systems of America site at 220 Daniel Webster Highway from 6 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday, starting Sept. 5, 2013, and continuing through Dec. 19.
Late start? That's OK! Students "could probably afford to miss that first week without too much of an impact," Lovette said, "but beyond that it would be more challenging to get caught up."
The course covers a broad range of topics, including: planning, human resource management, scheduling, budgeting, quality control, communications, team building, contracts, purchasing and ethics. There are practice tests, and you will go over PMP sample questions.
Lovette's final thought
"One of the phrases that comes out of our training is 'the project manager is large and in charge'. If that kind of leadership appeals to you, then learning this process is going to put you into a position to perform that kind of leadership and to have the opportunity to perform that kind of leadership."
A committed group of four initial members chartered The New Hampshire chapter of the Project Management Institute in 2001 to support Granite State project management professionals. Since then, the nonprofit organization has grown to more than 626 members, according to the PMI NH website.
What are your thoughts on businesses requiring PMP certification? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!