To be clear from the start, this article is critical of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and its practices.
I also know some will jump and say “you have a hidden agenda”; therefore before anyone jump,
- I ask you to visit my personal website and you see a history of volunteerism to Project Management and PMI, including global leadership positions.
- In term of a hidden agenda, I have NONE, since I am coming out in the open and critiquing – even criticizing PMI practices – so my agenda is in the open.
What is my agenda?
Explaining to the general community some of the issues so they can understand – why we will not renew our PMP, or Registered Education Provider status, or join the Consultant Registry … or … or
This topic is quite extensive so we might end up with a few articles on this subject. Today we will address an issue related to the REP (Registered Education Provider Program).
What is the Registered Education Provider (REP) program?
The REP program is a program launched by PMI in 1999 to review and register education providers that offer project management training. It is supposed to be a “stamp” of quality that PMI assigns to those organizations who agree to adhere to certain standards of education services. The program has evolved since then to more than 1000 providers around the world today.
Are all REP quality providers?
Sadly – NO. I recognize this is an opinion and it might be a biased one. I will not say much here except the following:
Visit the REP Site – select REP from your city or country – read their information – visit the activities that they post on the REP page – visit their websites … what will you find? A good percent of them, project management is not even a feature. In that case would you trust these organizations for your project management learning? If not, then a question would be: how did PMI accept them as REP?
On the other hands, a good percent of REP are highly qualified and are led by subject matter experts and thought leaders – not business people.
Why do I raise the above? I raise it as a background for the following sections. The primary issue is that there are problems with the REP program, the quality of the program, and project management education can be significantly improved.
I, the author of this article – was on the REP Advisory Group from 2005 to 2007 and during the period of time, the advisory group raised many suggestions for improvement but not were applied – this is another topic.
What is the issue with REP today – more background?
Under the headline “improving the REP program” PMI raised our fees 20% last year. The majority of REP (if not most) who commented on this issue were critical of PMI. The main challenge for most of us was: where is the value? What did PMI specifically do to improve the quality of the program or PM education to justify an increase. No outcome and most of us just accept and we consider this a “Tax” to pay.
PMI did not stop with the above increase.
We can guess that one of the most popular courses REP offer is a PMP exam prep course. Most, if not all REP, offer such a course. The ethical providers when we teach a PMP course we realize we have to use PMBOK content … therefore, to respect copyrights guidelines, we buy the PMBOK and give to our class participants. Although, the PMBOK is written and updated by volunteers – PMI does not pay for the content – they only cover some expenses associated with volunteers meetings, etc. So the content is free to PMI but PMI sell it – some of us can accept this – other do not … but this is not the issue today.
More money – $1000 per REP
The issue today – is PMI saying: [i am paraphrasing :)] If a provider is teaching a PMP prep class you must be using the PMBOK as a reference … and you must be either copy pasting from the PMBOK or “paraphrasing”. Therefore, each REP that teaches a PMP class must pay $1000 US for the right to “paraphrase” the PMBOK!
We do not violate the copyrights … and as I said before, we buy and give out the PMBOK guide.So PMI is earning money from when we conduct classes … But PMI knows that no one can teach a PMP class without mentioning topics from the PMBOK Guide – therefore this is a money making opportunity.
The issues are:
- A non-REP (or some un-ethical REP) around the world can possibly copy-paste the PMBOK and PMI cannot do anything about, even if they know
- An ethical REP who use PMBOK content – give the participants a copy of the PMBOK
- Most of the PMBOK content comes from volunteers for free
- Most of the PMBOK content comes from practice and standards and not invented by PMI … concepts like Project Life Cycle, Earned Value Management, Stakeholders Management, Critical Path, Parametric Estimating, Cost Budgeting, Risk Identification and Analysis … are all topics covered in hundreds of books — the PMBOK summarize of these concepts and re-package them!
PMI is making millions of dollars from REP, members, and certificate holders … yet they are always looking for another money-making opportunity.
The issue with the $1000 is creating a great deal of critique on the PMI REP site … which is not open to the public – only to REP. After a few weeks of critique PMI finally officially responder yesterday and all responses since then are critical of the PMI response. Some REP are considering withdrawing from the program. After 10 years in the program, SUKAD is one of the first in West Asia, we will not renew when our license expire later this year.
The following is from a discussion on LinkedIn – PMI REP Official Group … I am sharing the post as is. This is not my statement, it is by another REP leader Mr. Kevin Archbold, PMP, PMI-SP.
Mr. Archbold shared the following statement, which is on the Notice page of the PMBOK Guide.
“While PMI administers the process and establishes rules to promote fairness in the development of consensus, it does not write the document, and it does not independently test, evaluate, or verify the accuracy or completeness of any information or the soundness of any judgments contained in its standards and guideline publications”
The following is what Mr. Archbold added: “If PMI wants to own the PMBOK content, then they should step up and own it, and answer basic interpretation questions for instance. PMI profits immensely from the PMBOK, but this statement basically says they will not stand behind it, at least from a project management perspective.”
There will be future articles on this theme!