Keeping Your Certification Active…

Slalom Consultant Carl Manello

Carl Manello is a Solution Lead for Program & Project Management based in Chicago who enjoys exploring how to tightly couple the art and science of project delivery with business operations.

“It is only the ignorant who despise education.”
– Publius Syrus (42 B.C.)

For those folks who are PMP certified, or looking to become certified as a project manager by the Project Management Institute, one of your daunting tasks is to keep your certification status current.  This is done by obtaining and reporting on 60 professional development units (commonly called PDUs) within a three-year certification cycle.  Not only is it an administrative challenge to keep track of your PDUs, but it is sometimes a challenge to find time and budget for all that “training.”  However, don’t let the planning get you down.  David Trino from Slalom Consulting’s Chicago Office has a solution and he wants to share his approach and high-level plan on how to meet the 60 PDU hurdle with you.

David’s first step was to try to understand how to obtain PDUs by reviewing the rules.  He checked out the PMI’s PDU Category Caps and Rules document which lists all the various PDU categories.  Each category is clearly defined by PMI and has a specific maximum number of earnable PDUs per cycle.  David wanted to begin his hunt for PDU opportunities with the low hanging fruit.  Therefore, he focused on looking for credits for professional activities, self-directed learning and registered training.  These three key categories provide the best opportunities for a flexible schedule and a way to keep costs down (and in many cases, obtaining the credits is free).

Slalom Consultant David Trino

David Trino is a versatile Program & Project Management Consultant based in Chicago, with over 10 years of consulting experience in managing and successfully delivering large scale, complex business and technology initiatives to Fortune 500 clients.

The First 15 PDUs

If you have worked as a Project Manager for more than 1,500 hours in a calendar year, then you qualify for five PDUs for that year.  Note however, that the maximum number of credits for this category is 15 PDUs in a three-year cycle.  If you are working as a PM, then validate your hours and see if you qualify.  Assuming you have three years worth of Project Manager work, there is a potential for 15 PDUs right off the bat!

If you read project management books or listen to project management related podcasts, those activities qualify for additional PDUs.  These are what the PMI classifies as self-directed learning activities.  The maximum number for this category in a three-year cycle is also fifteen.

In the continuing spirit of free training, you can find relevant podcasts all across the Internet.  However, here are a couple of good sources:

See that?  With very little effort, we have already planned out half of the required credits for the cycle.  But wait, there’s more….

David is half-way there planning out his PDUs and has only focused on two PMI categories.  The bulk of the remaining free opportunities fall under a third category.  Credits are available from attending (well, actually sitting through) online training from a PMI Registered Education Provider.  In this category there is no maximum number of PDUs.  The sky’s the limit.  Well, that and the amount of time you want to sit in front of your PC.

Here are three sites that provide free webinars:

Really? That’s all there is to it?

David’s simple plan helps put the tasks of obtaining 60 PDUs into perspective; it won’t really be that hard, but it may take a bit of time.  If you are able to listen to a podcast (think about your commute) or a free hour to engage in a webinar (over your lunch), then you are half-way to obtaining your required credits.

Also, don’t forget to record your credits on the PMI website, in their provided tool. The PMI tool is not only the official record for maintaining your status as a PM in good standing, it is a handy way to keep yourself organized.  David makes it a point to log his activities as soon as possible because he is afraid he will forget.  Even though many of the registered education learning opportunities provide an email notification when completing a training/activity, it is easy to lose those emails and forget to log the PDUs.  As part of his plan, David is going to play it safe and just enter his PDUs as soon as he completes the work.

David is no Latin writer of maxims like Publius Syrus, but he is a project manager who plans.  Don’t be ignorant of the rules to maintain your good standing with PMI.  Go do a little investigation, create a little plan… and start on your way to continuing education.

Authors: David Trino and Carl Manello

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About Carl M. Manello
I am Slalom Consulting's Practice Lead for Delivery Effectiveness. I work to support organizations' capability and delivery maturity -- not just IT organizations -- so that their initiatives run more predictably, efficiently and provide the best results.

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