Key-note address to
A Conference under the Northern Lights
by R. Max Wideman, President of the Project Management Institute, in Reykjavik, Iceland, August 31st, 1987

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PMI Professionalism Programs

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Certification, including a Code of Ethics, involves the testing of individuals to published minimum standards. The results of a recent survey based on a sample of PMI members indicates that 96% of respondents are in favor of a PMI Certification program.

The program as currently structured is basic and fundamental in nature. It is based on extensive research concerning what other professional organizations have done, what is best for project management professionalism as expressed by PMI members, and the objectives of developing an expandable, quality program which will possess credibility in the eyes of the many publics with whom PMI interacts.

The basic purposes of the certification program are to enhance professionalism in project management and to provide project management personnel with a structured method to aid in their personal professional development. It is a program which PMI offers to both members and non-members alike. The program is designed for individuals working in a project environment, and who wish to enhance their knowledge, skills and visibility as project management professionals. You do not have to be a PMI member to apply for certification and it is not anticipated that all members of PMI will apply.

Project Management Code of Ethics

To be recognized by the Institute as a certified Professional Project Manager, the individual must subscribe and adhere to a project management code of ethics. It serves as a guide for the project manager's conduct on moral issues and judgments as they relate to the profession. As I hope I have already demonstrated, project managers have the potential to affect the quality of life of all people in our society. Therefore, it is vital that they conduct their work in an ethical manner and earn the confidence and respect not only of their team members, colleagues, employers and clients, but also the public-at-large.

A Master of Project Management Degree

Normally, education in PMI terms is by means of seminars, symposia, workshops, and through the PMI's professional journal. However, some five years ago, as PMI's professionalism efforts were coming together, a unique body of knowledge was being developed, accepted, and formalized in the publications of the Institute, and support for developing a project management profession was high, it became feasible to entertain the idea of a Project Management Master's Degree Program.

In 1982, a PMI project was conducted to study all U.S. nationally accredited schools of engineering and business to determine what project management materials were being taught in quality U.S. institutions of higher learning. The findings were most interesting, although not entirely surprising. They were:وووو

  • No nationally accredited project management degree program was being offered by any responding school
  • Few schools responded that they offered specialized courses in project management
  • No nationally accredited school of engineering or business reported requiring a project management course as part of a degree program
  • Engineering schools that did have one or more project management courses taught them to cover technical, quantitatively oriented networking materials
  • Business schools that did have one or more project management courses based them in the area of organization theory, presenting mainly the unique issues involved in managing project and matrix organizations
  • Thus there appeared to be no comprehensive, high quality project management program available in the U.S. at that time

After a considerable amount of discussion and legwork, a project management degree program was approved for implementation at the University of North Carolina, and classes commenced in August 1986. The PMI Board of Advisors continue to visit WCU at their own expense, to advise and approve of the curriculum as it is developed and to act as Visiting Executives in the new degree program.


As a result of the publicity generated by PMI's efforts to establish the WCU degree program, other schools have indicated an interest in developing degree programs of their own. While some have chosen to "go it alone" and develop their programs independently, others have contacted PMI for assistance. As a consequence, PMI has established a standing PMI Accreditation Committee to deal with the issues of evaluating degree programs and recognizing those that meet defined standards of quality.

The PMBoK provides the necessary evaluation standards for the curriculum. While true accreditation requires the evaluation of many other variables such as faculty qualifications and their facilities, these are beyond the capability of PMI. However, other agencies exist in the United States which are well versed in this area. Therefore for our purposes, Accreditation is a process whereby a PMI committee, upon request, reviews a learning institution's project management program for quality and content and confers recognition if found acceptable.

PMI's accreditation program is in its infancy. The first meeting with a requesting University, a Canadian University, was held earlier this year with a view to establishing standards and procedures for reviewing their project management program. This is a new endeavor for PMI and we are approaching it with a great deal of caution. It does, however, reinforce the PMI commitment to develop project management as a profession.

For those of you who would like to know more, as I mentioned earlier, an excellent paper was delivered to the 1987 National Conference of the Project Management Forum, in Adelaide, South Australia, last March. I am sure that it, together with other valuable information is available through our office in Drexel Hill in Pennsylvania.

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