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Ever see a hornet's nest? I have. It happened after my post yesterday. I got a bunch of emails taking exception to my call for making project management a profession. One person claimed I was shilling for the PMI.1 To set the record straight, I shill for no one. Having said that, I stand behind my call for professionalism.
There are a number of avenues to professionalism. The PMI's PMP® is the best known and most criticized path. For now, I won't go into the criticism except to say, a lot of work needs to be done to make project management a full profession. There is a bigger issue. That is a commitment to career-long learning. Recognized professions take this very seriously. All have a form of continuing education units (CEUs). Members of a profession are required to maintain a level of on-going engagement in their education. That's right, required. It is one of the ways that registration or certification actually means something. Members of the profession are keeping up with the advancement of the profession. It's not a lot of time; for most professions it's about 30 hours of learning/course work/seminar attendance for every two years. Why is this important? Because the vast majority of project management people I speak with don't put in that time.
Projects can be conducted for learning.
Nothing is more important to the success of projects than the on-going upgrading of skills of the project managers. Nothing. Yet, one of the easiest ways to do that is to read books. How many books related to your career are you reading in a year? Two? One? Maybe you bought the book but didn't read it? About 300 million books are sold each year in the USA. That's about 1 book/person. Many of those books go unread. Another large amount are pulp fiction. A whole bunch of people buy 10 or more books/year. That leaves very few books that are read by people taking care of their careers. I know I'm being tough. I intend to be tough. C'mon, we need to explore the world. Books are just one of the ways that we do that.
Want to know another way? Projects can be conducted for learning. Huh? That's right, we can do our projects in a way that each of us learns what we need to learn to advance our career and profession. I know, in all too many cases, we barely get the project staff we need to get the project done. How could we possibly find the time to conduct the project in a way that every team member learns? It's actually rather easy. I'll share how tomorrow. Until then, what are your everyday actions that keep you on a path of career-long learning? Please share them with us. Leave a comment. As a profession, we need to know.
- Full disclosure: I am a member of the PMI New Media Council, a group of bloggers and other "new media" people who are working with the PMI. [ ⇑ back ]