Seminar: ‘Project Management Certification – Wrong Content, Wrong Reason, Wrong Way Finding a better way to develop project management competency’


School of Business Seminar Room, Level 1, Building 27, UNSW Canberra

12.15pm to 1.15pm

Project management is an increasingly popular approach to deal with complexity in the modern business landscape. Its development over the past eighty years has provided ample opportunity for the profession to expand and re-think their accreditation programs to incorporate the latest in management innovations; yet, this has not occurred. The project management profession remains trapped in Davis’s (1971) conceptualization of the industry as an ‘accidental profession’, where the project manager stumbles into the profession and acquires competence through continuing education, which in turn is assumed to be positively correlated to project success. 

This paper examines the historical development of the project management industry bodies, their role in developing project management certifications, and their effect on project success and failure. It reports on research that finds project management certification is not positively correlated to project success and develops the thesis that project managers are being taught the wrong content, for the wrong reason (purpose), and in the wrong way (delivery). An action research case study is presented to validate the thesis and explore better ways of developing project management competencies by incorporating concepts such as organisational alignment to strategy, benefits realisation, and interpersonal skills development.