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Understanding the Value of a CAPM® Certification

COMMENTARY

By Harold Kerzner, PhD 

USA
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For more than thirty years, I have travelled the world conducting lectures, seminars and workshops on various aspects of project management. At each location, I am inevitably asked the same question: “What major changes have you seen in your career in project management?” Program participants expect me to talk about the PMBOK® Guide, program management, portfolio management, project management leadership, the PMO, Agile, and other such topics; however, they become quite surprised when I state the biggest change has been in the way we educate project managers.

Today, while most people take project management educational opportunities for granted, it has not always been that way. As a young engineer, I observed the birth of project management in the heavy construction, aerospace and defense industries as well as in NASA’s manned space program. I then decided I wanted my career to be in project management.

I was hired into an aerospace firm desiring to be placed immediately into a project management position with the expectation of attending project management training programs. I was surprised to learn that, not only did my company not have any such educational programs, but there were no such seminars in the marketplace. Instead, employees desiring project management positions often spent the first eighteen months working in various functional disciplines in order to understand how the company functioned and integrated work across a multitude of areas. The argument was simple: project managers cannot integrate work across multiple functional areas without fully understanding how each functional area worked. The emphasis was more on understanding the organization structure than understanding the concepts of Project Management.

After almost two years, I was given the opportunity to go into project management. To this day, I clearly remember my meeting with the Vice President for Engineering when he told me that as a project manager I would be making mistakes. He then went on to say, “The first time you make a mistake, I, the Vice President for Engineering, will take the responsibility for the mistake. If you ever repeat the mistake, you will be fired.”

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About the Author

flag-usapmwj16-nov2013-kerzner-AUTHOR IMAGEHAROLD KERZNER, M.S., Ph.D., M.B.A        

USA 

HAROLD KERZNER is Senior Executive Director of Project Management for the International Institute for Learning (IIL). He has a MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Utah State University. He is a prior Air Force Officer and spent several years at Morton-Thiokol in project management. He taught engineering at the University of Illinois and business administration at Utah State University, and for 37 years taught project management at Baldwin-Wallace University. He has published or presented numerous engineering and business papers, and has published more than 50 college textbooks on project management, including later editions. His three latest books are (1) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling; (2) Project Management Metrics, KPIs and Dashboards, and (3) Project Recovery: Case Studies and Techniques for Overcoming Project Failure.

He travels around the world each year conducting project management lectures in Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa, Germany, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy, England and Switzerland.

His recognitions include:

  • The University of Illinois granted Dr. Kerzner a Distinguished Recent Alumni Award for his contributions to the field of project management 
  • Utah State University provided Dr. Kerzner with the 1998 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the field of project management 
  • The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute gives out the Kerzner Award once a year to one project manager in Northeast Ohio that has demonstrated excellence in project management 
  • The Project Management Institute (PMI) in cooperation with IIL has initiated the Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award given to one project manager yearly anywhere in the world 
  • PMI also awards four scholarships each year in Dr. Kerzner’s name for graduate studies in project management 
  • Baldwin-Wallace University has instituted the Kerzner Distinguished Lecturer Series in project management 

For more information about Dr. Kerzner, his books or his speaking schedule, visit www.iil.com.