Project Management Survey: The Value of PMP Certification

Capterra investigated the differences in project management methods, struggles, and solutions between PMP-certified and non-certified project managers.

Published by Rachel Burger, April 13 2015

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The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a credential offered through the Project Management Institute. Certification for project managers is particularly important to people in this industry if for no other reason than the fact that PMPs earn, on average, 16% more than non-certified professionals.

Capterra, a site dedicated to matching businesses with the right software, recently conducted a survey to discover if there were other insights about the differences between PMPs and non-certified project managers. We also looked at what common stressors face project managers and whether software is a regular solution to these problems.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Slightly more than a third (34.6%) of project managers have a PMP certification.
  2. Most (80%) PMPs use formal project management methods.
  3. Project managers without a PMP certification are far more likely to struggle with time management (41%) than those without (33%).
  4. Almost half (47%) of all project managers have used project management software to help them with common project difficulties.

Who is PMP Certified?

Of those we surveyed, 34.6% have a PMP certification, 21.2% are in the process of getting a certification, and 44.2% have no certification whatsoever. These numbers reflect the growing value of a PMP certification and also recognition that the entire project management field is becoming more competitive.

Do you have a PMP certification?

34.6% of respondents have a PMP certification.Tweet This Pm-do-you-have-certification

Formal Project Management Processes

Project management has processes to ensure that projects are delivered on time, in budget, and of expected quality—Agile and Waterfall are two examples of these methods.

Unsurprisingly, those with formal training in these processes are far more likely to employ them than those without. For example, four out of five PMPs use formal processes, yet, of all project managers, 55.8% do not use these tools whatsoever, 40.4% use them, and 3.8% are “not sure.” Only about one in four (23%) of non-certified project managers employ a formal project management method.

Do you use formal project management techniques, like Agile or Waterfall?

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Breakdown of project managers who use formal project management techniques

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Common Challenges

Perhaps it is the use—or lack thereof—of these methods that explain the discrepancy in what challenges project managers the most on the job. Among those with a PMP certification, their biggest obstacles are evenly split between completing projects on budget (33%), on time (33%), and in scope (33%).

The story is different for those without a PMP certification. Of project managers who are in the process of getting their PMP, 19% said budget was their biggest obstacle, 31% said time, and 50% said project scope. And as for project managers with no certification, 27% said budget was their biggest obstacle, 41% said time, and 25% said project scope.

What is the biggest obstacle you face in your position?

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Regardless of certification, most project managers (40.4%) struggle with completing projects on time.Regardless of certification, most project managers (40.4%) struggle with completing projects on time.Tweet This Completing projects on budget presented the next greatest obstacle (28.8%), and staying within the scope of the project followed (26.9%). Only 3.8% of respondents claimed that they had “other” biggest obstacles, noting “bandwidth” and “getting enough business” in their comments.

What is the biggest obstacle you face in your position?

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Project Management Software

One tool commonly used to mitigate these challenges is project management software (the most popular software options include Microsoft Project, Basecamp, and Atlassian, which were all frequently referenced in the comments section of the survey). About half (47.1%) of project managers use or have used project management software to address their projects' obstacles.About half (47.1%) of project managers use or have used project management software to address their projects' obstacles.Tweet This

Have you ever used project management software to address these obstacles?

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Project managers who use formal project management methods are far more likely (77%) than those who don't (32%) to use project management software. Yet surprisingly, those without a PMP certification are slightly more likely to use software (75%) than those with a certification (67%). This may be the case because project managers with no formal certification may not have the tools or education to create an efficient project management process, and may be using the pre-built processes of a software system to make up this deficit.

Methodology

Capterra collected the data in this report through a five-question survey to project managers, conducted over the course of 25 days and receiving a total of 104 qualified responses.

About the Author

Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a Content Marketing Analyst for Capterra, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses to their software needs. She specializes in construction, project management and school administration. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family. Follow her on Twitter @CapterraBurger.