Program Management Forum

An Overview of Project Management Institute (PMI)

Project Management Institute, which is better known by
its acronym PMI, is a US-based non-profit organization that specializes
in project management. This organization is well known for providing
professional services in the fields of research, education and publication and
opportunities in the field of networking within a particular locality. It is also
involved in developing standards as also monitoring their gradual evolution not to
mention organizing seminars and conferences for training of personnel. Also
included in PMI’s portfolio is granting accreditation in the arena of project management.

Ever since it was established in 1969, PMI has been operating from its headquarters in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. It functions with an employee strength ranging between 51 and 200 and numerous volunteers who have made it possible for the organization to extend its activities all over the world. While Mark A Langley serves as the President as well as the CEO of the organization, the honor for being the CEO of Emeritus goes to Gregory Balestrero.

The concept of project management burgeoned for the first time during the 1960s’ in industries related to construction, defense and aerospace and the think-tank from these backgrounds joined hands and eventually founded the PMI. From the very beginning it was meant to operate as a non-profit organization, its main objective being to inculcate professionalism in the field. In addition, it also made a commitment to provide a forum to facilitate discussion of problems as also an interface wherein all parties involved could come together and put forth their opinions.

Some of the core aspects on which the institute concentrated its efforts were concerned with developing of terminology, improving communication and providing guidance in terms of instructions to foster career development. Standardization was another area that the PMI addressed and it achieved its goals in this arena through participation in various national and international activities. Although the PMI never dealt with Federal Government of USA directly, several of its members were employees who worked in federal agencies and relied heavily on project management.

Over the years, the number of members has always been on the rise and in 2008, the total strength was estimated at being almost six to seven times more than its original membership. Its global presence has also become more prominent as the organization now enjoys the status of a prominent entity in more than 150 countries around the world.

1984 was the year when PMI introduced its first credential titled as the PMP. Since then several other credentials have been introduced along with one certification. To earn any of the eight credentials of PMI, aspiring candidates are required to fulfill criteria pertaining to education and work experience and also pass an exam comprising of multiple choice questions.

Having acquired a PMI credential, holders must concentrate on maintaining them by earning PDU, meaning professional developmental unit. Credentials need to be renewed once in three years and should be maintained by taking and attending classes, participating in conferences and publishing papers related to the subject of project management.

Standards developed and published by PMI are broadly categorized into three divisions namely foundation, practice and extensions. Each category has a list of standards that fall within its purview and the onus is on existing and aspiring members to be aware of them. These standards are a result of open discussion wherein volunteers view the draft, suggest changes and set a standard through consensus.

On its part the PMI acknowledges excellence in the field of project management by granting awards in various categories every year in the month of November.