Like any other profession project management has its own professional organization, the Project Management Institute or PMI for short. PMI covers many of the same areas most professional organization do: certification, continuing education, conferences, and knowledge management. They are most well-known for publishing A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and for Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and exam.
At this point you’re probably wondering, “Another professional organization” followed by a heavy sigh. I’m sure you’re a member of ALA and probably at least one division as well as some local library organization. This may or may not also come with the question I hear so often: “What has [insert professional organization] done for me”. Given all that, the thought of another professional organization probably seems horrific. However, PMI is exceptionally clear about the “What they do for you”. The wealth of materials that accompany membership can turn even the most novice project manager into someone who seems like a professional. Simply reviewing PMBOK and the Book of Forms will give you nearly everything you need to successfully manage a project. And if you find you enjoy project management and are thinking about the PMP certification or any of the 7 other certifications offered, members receive nearly 65% off the cost of the exam. While a great many of the benefits offered by PMI are geared toward professionals whose job is solely project management, there is so much available for those just getting started I can’t think of a better place to begin.
Membership in PMI gives you access to digital versions of PMBOK and their other key books (in 10 different languages) as well as all the tools and templates available in A Project Manager’s Book of Forms. You will also get unlimited access to their Knowledge Resources which include a webinars, peer-written and reviewed articles, and a score of other business and management ebooks.
The cost of membership in PMI is $129, with discounted membership for students and retirees. Membership for chapter organizations varies, but the Illinois chapter is $20 and the Chicagoland one is $35. Given the benefits of membership, this cost is reasonable. A print copy of PMBOK runs $65.95, more than half the cost of membership. That is only one of many books members receive access to so it is really quite the deal.
PMI is large global organization with over 400,000 members in 180 countries and over 600,000 certification holders worldwide. Because of the global nature of PMI, there are 280 chapter organizations. There are also 30 communities of practice (similar to ALA divisions), allowing members to connect with individuals with similar interests or areas of employment. PMI also takes membership and certification very seriously. There is a well-established code of ethics that members are expected to uphold. This history of this code dates back to the early 80’s so it has become a clear foundation of the profession.
I’ve been a member of PMI since last year and have found the resources available to be of an exceptional quality. Webinars are informative and well produced and the knowledge resources are easy to navigate and cover a wide range of topics. You also get printed materials like Project Management Journal, PMNetwork, and PMI Today. In fact, I receive so much material it’s often hard to make it through everything each month. All this makes the cost of membership will worth it and I think provides a great model for other professional organizations as well.