New project management certification for IT pros
By Edwin Yapp January 31, 2013
- Project management course administered by Pikom targeted at junior execs, fresh grads
- Goal to produce more competent project managers; provide alternative career choice for ICT pros
PIKOM has launched what it believes to be the first-of-its-kind certification for entry-level project managers in a bid to address the shortage of such qualified professionals in the country.
The National ICT Association of Malaysia also hopes this move will encourage junior IT professionals and students in universities to consider project management as a viable career choice, besides choosing to merely become software programmers and/ or analysts.
Speaking at a media briefing on January 30, Pikom chairman Woon Tai Hai said there is a dearth of qualified and skilled project managers in the industry and this certification – dubbed the Project Management Certification Program (PMCP) – seeks to address this challenge.
Woon (pic) said that many ICT professionals today are not equipped to handle project management, noting that this discipline is not necessarily a technical field but rather is one that goes beyond merely methodology and approach.
“I’ve personally seen how projects fail because there aren’t enough competent project managers,” he said at the media briefing. “Project management in the country is not as strong as it should be and I’ve seen so many projects fail because of this,” he said, defining failures in terms of budget and time overruns.
Woon said he hoped that with such certification available, ICT graduates could consider taking up project management as a career choice besides just being programmers, something that would help the country in the long run.
Concurring with this was Hood Abu Bakar, general manager of ICT for government-linked maritime conglomerate MISC, who noted that project management today is a complex subject, something that fresh graduates and junior professionals do not have the necessary exposure to be skilled in.
Also a Pikom CIO Chapter member, Hood observed that today’s project management discipline encompasses not just methodologies but requires one to assess the value of a project in terms of risks, objectives and costs, something that new graduates and junior professionals would not have covered in their tertiary years, and would therefore need to learn on the job.
“Our aim for the PMCP is to address these gaps with these groups of people,” he noted.
Asked if there are any courses in the market that resemble the PMCP’s training structure and, if any, how different the course would be compared to those offered by other training providers, Woon said he wasn’t aware of any course like the PMCP.
Hood said that the PMCP will emphasize the practical side of project management and will be very hands-on in nature. The subjects tackled will also be a culmination of needs identified by both the supply and demand side of the industry, he claimed.
“Vendors’ training programs are tied more to specific products but our program is more open and will also emphasize personal competency [soft] skills such as leadership, communication, professionalism and management,” Woon said.
On what Pikom’s expectations are for the PMCP course given that it is still a nascent and independent course not benchmarked against any industry standard, Woon acknowledged that it would be up to the participants to judge whether this course will be successful or not.
“It’s not our intention to create the PMCP as a marketing exercise [for Pikom],” he said. “There are no guarantees if this course will help its participants do their jobs effectively. If in two years’ time, this course is not effective, it will die naturally, but I believe there will be a demand [for PMCP] given the success of another course we’ve run – the Project Leadership Certification (PLC) – for the past two years.”
Woon said that currently, there are no plans to benchmark the PMCP against any standards, noting only that it should be done in future. “At some stage we need to measure how effective this course is in order to improve it, but that’s for the future leadership of Pikom to consider.”
According to Woon, the PMCP course content and syllabus are administered and supervised by Pikom, while three companies – Bridgit, Iverson and LucidIT – have been appointed the official training providers for the courses in Malaysia.
“We hope to train 120 participants this year, and hopefully increase this to 200 by next year. There will be three to four classes each quarter this year and the first one is expected to start in March.”
The launch of the PMCP comes off the back of what Pikom deemed to be a successful PLC program. first mooted in 2010. According to the association, the PLC is methodology-independent and is applicable to industries from all sectors.
Pikom claims to have successfully trained 200 mid-level IT professionals in its PLC course to date.
Initiated by Pikom’s CIO Chapter, comprising chief information officers of major corporations in Malaysia, the PLC is targeted at project managers with five or more years' experience, while the PMCP is expected to address the needs of project team members with fewer years under their belt.
The PMCP is conducted in two parts; the first will cover the foundation of project management while the second part will include the integration of all aspects of project management and soft skills training.
Participants who have passed the PMCP certification can then progress to other certification programs such as PMP (Project Management Professional), PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) and the PLC.
The PMCP will take up to three months or 120 hours of contact time to complete and the course outline includes topics such as Project Management Framework, Project Management Life Cycle, Security, Safety and Health, as well as various other personal competencies training.
The grading will comprise the submission of a completed assignment and an examination at the end of the course.