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Project Management by Microsoft

At the 2006 PMI Global Conference a few days ago, Microsoft announced three new Microsoft Project 2007 Certifications. The details are a bit hazy as Project 2007 won't be released until next year, but the basic idea is that:

Three new certifications will be introduced to address the needs of people using the Microsoft Office Project 2007 desktop and the EPM solution. The credentials are designed to be incorporated into training programs that provide a progressive career path and promote high standards. These certifications also align with Microsoft’s support for the People-Ready business, the company’s commitment to prepare users with critical skills and competencies that lead to successful project outcomes and greater efficiencies. Microsoft’s Certified Partners for Learning Solutions can now participate in the opportunity of preparing users to migrate to the advanced functionality of Office Project 2007 EPM.

According to the press release (read it here) PMI's PMBOK was used as a foundation on which this certification was built. I can understand that. It is always nice to have something already existing to build upon, but a few quotes from Microsoft Learning GM Lutz Ziob leave me worrying a bit about the whole thing. This quote for example:

"The complexity of project management is driving the need for a more educated practitioner," says Ziob. "Microsoft is committed to advancing the project management profession. This is especially important as project management evolves from a desktop application to an increasingly strategic enterprise level business solution."

UPDATE: An un-named mole assures me that I'm the one who is misunderstanding this quote and the intentions of Microsoft. This is good to hear... I think.

Since when has project management been a desktop application? Don't get me wrong. Project Information Systems such as Microsoft's EPM solution are very good and useful, but they are just tools, tools which help you achieve SOME of the goals of Project Managers. I can't remember who was giving the talk, but I've heard project scheduling and tracking described as being closer to accounting functions rather than management functions. I agree with that to a certain degree. Just as a financial system gives managers information to manage their projects, a schedule/resource/tracking system gives managers information to manage their projects. Most managers don't run the financial systems though, and they aren't expected to understand many of the tools used. Why should Project Information Systems (PIS's) be any different? Shouldn't a group of project analysts or project "accountants" handle that part? If not, why not? I'm just worried that someone, somewhere is confusing information with management.

Of course, I have no idea what the certification will look like. It may be completely different than I expect, but if it focuses on teaching managers the ins and outs of Project Server then I think that the resulting "Certified Managers" are not really managers at all.

  • Taking and Passing the PMP Exam - Part 15 - PMBOK version 4
  • Cramming for the Microsoft Project 2007 Certification Exam
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 8 - What is Project Management
  • PM Web #001 - Glen B. Alleman's Herding Cats
  • Books to Consider – Decision Making
  • Seeing Other Scheduling Software
  • Project Management Office and the Monorail
  • The Cashmere Bikini
  • Project Management Immaturity Model
  • All your models are belong to us

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