Hire a PMP vs. a non-PMP Project Manager?

We had an engaging PMI Breakfast Case Study at the Manpower Corporate Headquarters in Milwaukee this morning.  The key question posed – in selecting a project manager, if given the option, who do you pick a Project Management Professional (PMP) or a non-PMP?  As indicated by the good turnout this is a frequently asked question.  After the session I gathered my thoughts and put down eleven reasons to choose the PMP candidate.  The PMP holder:

  1. Has experienced years of project work
  2. Has a verified understanding of project management concepts and methods.  In preparing for the PMP examination they will have mapped their own project management experiences onto the PMBOK
  3. Has considered ethics problems, questions and ideas.
  4. Has learned the vernacular of project management.  Speaking the language of project management comes in handy when talking with other project managers and educating team members and stakeholders on applicable PM concepts.  The latter is a leadership skill.
  5. Has demonstrated professionalism and shown they put value on PMI and the PMP certification.  We only have so much time on this world – earning a PMP is a good indicator of how the candidate chooses to use their time and energy.
  6. Has opportunities for “blinders off” in other words, extracurricular activity outside of the normal work environment.  Away time is helpful and healthy for the individual. Hours of training are required for the PMP credential and 60 PDUs are needed every three years for PMP renewal.  
  7. Has appreciation for another perspective- in fact for an ideal perspective on project management, the one that is the PMBOK the Project Management Body of Knowledge.  To draw on a completely different field as an example, if you never go to a museum how would you know art?
  8. Has external professional contacts – to bounce ideas off of with unbiased knowledgeable peers.
  9. Has a bigger toolkit – of methods that may be employed when a project is stuck, when a Project Management Office is established, when processes are put in place, etc.
  10. Provides an organization with representation at PMI should the organization wish to partner with PMI at the chapter or national level, in securing training or, co-sponsoring events, etc. 
  11. Depending on the use of project managenent at the organization (maturity, processes, team management structure, etc.), PMP PMs are more likely to deliver project successes.

While I have to admit some bias (as I am PMP certified and accumulating Professional Development Unit towards a second renewal) there are more good reasons than not for an organization to favor PMP certified candidates.