After obtaining your credential, you are at the beginning of what should be a process of continual growth. In this article we take into consideration a wide range of options, with emphasis on the plethora of opportunities available through PMI, supplementing those available to you by corporate providers, Registered Educational Providers and accredited institutions of higher learning.
Because PMI is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), certain PMI offerings qualify for issuance of CEUs, meaning that PMI training may satisfy requirements you have in other professional organizations.
One of the major benefits of association with the Project Management Institute is the wide range of avenues the organization provides for professional growth. They include:
- Local Chapters
- The Global Congresses
- Regional Meetings
- Communities of Practice
- e-Learning at PMI.org
- Leadership Institute
- Other Volunteer Involvement
Local chapters offer excellent opportunities to network and grow with nearby credential holders. You can gain Professional Development Units (PDUs), stay abreast of developments in local industry and business, and share your special expertise while “building your personal brand,” so to speak. Many chapters have breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings, in order to fit into your particular schedule. Chapters also often present seminars, both free and at substantial discounts for their membership. You’ll also find that leadership growth opportunities are usually available by serving the chapter or its board of directors. Local dues are in addition to PMI Global dues and normally quite modest as an annual fee.
The Global Congresses
The major PMI meetings each year are called the World Congresses. These events offer networking on a grand scale, and always feature the very latest in professional trends with top-notch presenters. Opportunities for gaining PDUs abound.
To make travel easier, PMI offers them in two areas – North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Host cities rotate within each area. The North American Congress normally occurs in October, and the EMEA Congress in May. Latin American events in 2013 totaled almost 40, with 14 in Brazil alone.
PMI sponsors regional events in two world regions – Asia Pacific and Latin America. Included at each are a variety of events, such as the PMI China Congress, the PMI Taiwan International Congress, the PMI Japan Forum, and many more. Some but not all of these meetings are, in effect, national meetings of PMI, as distinct from the two major world meetings discussed above.
These face-to-face seminars are held in various cities throughout the year and vary in length from one to four days. Class sizes are generally small and open to PMI members and non-members alike. As is the case with exam applications, significant discounts apply here.
Events in North America are held before and after the annual World Congress. Events are also scheduled in the EMEA region.
Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice (COPs) are “birds of a feather” opportunities for PMPs and other PMI credential holders to cross-pollinate their knowledge and lessons learned in a worldwide venue. PMI Communities of Practice are open to PMI members only and at no additional cost. As a PMI member, you can freely participate in any COP and optionally subscribe in order to appear in the COP directory and receive a newsletter.
You can see the amazing array and breadth of available COPs in the following list. One or more should be close to any project you might ever manage. Of particular interest to new PMPs is the New Practitioner COP. Noteworthy for late-career practitioners is the Consulting COP, which can prepare them for part-time work after retirement.
- Aerospace and defense
- Change Management
- China Project Management
- Construction Industry
- Earned Value Management
- Energy, Oil, Gas and Petrochemical
- Ethics in Project Management
- Financial Services Industry
- Global Diversity
- Global Sustainability
- Human Resource Project Management
- Information Systems
- Innovation and New Product Development
- International Development
- IT and Telecom
- Leadership in Project Management
- Learning, Education and Development
- Legal Project Management
- Marketing and Sales
- New Practitioners
- Organizational Project Management
- Program Management Office
- Project Management Quality
- Project Risk Management
- Requirements Management
- Service and Outsourcing
- Utility Industry
e-Learning at PMI.org
Busy practitioners often have difficulty finding enough time away from work for participation in in-person training events while meeting work and personal goals. PMI’s e-Learning offerings provide a convenient and often less expensive solution. These offerings include both instructor-led and on-demand courses.
Instructor-led e-Learning offerings are termed e-SeminarsWorld® and feature discussion questions, individual and group assignments, and instructor feedback. Classmates are typically from all around the world. Course lengths vary from one to two weeks. Role-playing, group projects, case studies and more are included, and PDUs are of course available.
On-demand offerings include not only fundamentals, but also project simulations. The on-demand nature means that you can take them anytime, anywhere in the world and proceed at your own pace. The only requirement is an Internet connection – no special software is needed. One year is allowed for course completion, and PDUs are of course available.
Publication Quizzes are an especially interesting option. Here, you watch a video or read a series of articles. If you pass the corresponding examination within three tries, you are awarded between one-half and 2.5 PDUs if you are a PMP. These credits don’t count as “contact hours” when applying for the credential examination, though.
Those PMI members who avail themselves of plentiful leadership opportunities in local chapters will find a wealth of additional knowledge available at PMI’s Leadership Institute meetings. This meeting is held annually for local officers and key personnel. While oriented toward local chapter management, these meetings feature seminars addressing the complete range of project management topics, and both hard and soft skills.
Other Volunteer Involvement
Even newer PMPs can work shoulder-to-shoulder and learn and network with some of the world’s leading practitioners by volunteering in a variety of efforts such as standards development, exam question development, meeting planning and much more. Here again PDUs are awarded.