Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not yawning. Neither doing cartwheels.

Taking advantage of the social networks that we PMs have started to form on LinkedIn, I did some polling over the past few days to gauge the interest level (see post below) in the brand-spanking-new PMBOK(R) Guide.

Using a completely non-scientific scale that I made up in 17.4 seconds, and asking the question on the larger LinkedIn Groups (including my own - LinkedIn Bloggers), I got about 80 responses over the past few days.

I was particularly impressed with the time people took to write very intelligent commentary. I think I touched a nerve with regards to the PMBOK Guide. People wrote to compare it with PRINCE2 and ITIL. People wrote to praise it, to tear it down, to exalt the PMI and to lambaste the PMI. But they did it all with a sharp wit and a deep insight that provided me with a mini "pulse" of the PM population with respect to the PMBOK Guide specifically, PMI standards more generally, and the PM discipline overall.

If you were one of the respondents, thank you. If you were one of the many who not only gave me your evaluation along my scale, but also wrote a paragaph or two, or a whole chapter, my hat is really off to you. Thanks. Really, thanks.

Now, to the results.

Remember that this was not - repaeat not - an anonymous survey. So people who were giving scores of a 5 (effectively yawning out loud at the PMBOK Guide update) were willing to make that statement in public with their name on it.

Only one person of the eighty respondents said that they were exhilirated and overjoyed at the arrival of the new PMBOK Guide. That's an outcome, I think, of my silly scale. Still, I thought we may have seen a few more of these folks pipe up.

On the other end, we did have 5% brave souls say that this "doesn't mean anything" to them.

In the middle, we had over 50% say that they were mildly interested or had a passing interest in the new PMBOK Guide. And about a quarter were excited or very interested.

Regarding the comments, one recurring theme was that those who gave the lower scores (i.e. showed more interest) were those who had some connection to the training, caring, feeding, etc., of Project Managers. Here I count those who create PM courseware, PMP-prep materials, or oversee the 'soft skills' piece of their PMOs.

To me there are a few lessons learned here:

1. There is a great value in these PM social networks in terms of getting a pulse of the community. At the end of the posting I will put some links to these groups in LinkedIn. I suggest you check them out and join. Take advantage of the power of the (your) network.

2. There is a good deal of pent-up frustration out there with the PMI, although there seemed to be a common feeling that this new edition was a step in the right direction.

3. At least a subset of the community of people who work on PM education/training/certification are paying attention. They realize that - like it or not - the new PMBOK Guide has to be reckoned with.

Here are some links to the LinkedIn groups I mentioned above:

PM Bloggers
For those (crazies) who blog about PM

472 Members

Global Project Management
6,828 Members

PM Link
15,998 Members

PMI Certified PMPs
6,746 Members

Project and Program Management Professionals

1,057 Members

Project Management Networking Group (PMNG)

25,619 Members

Project Managers Group
6,232 Members

sDB+PM Group
412 Members

After looking at these, by the way, I had the same thought that I did when I saw my Alumni's networking groups all fractured into 5 or 6 pieces. That thought: why can't these be combined in some way? There may be some distinctions (like my group, PM Bloggers, which focuses on a particular aspect) that make sense, but having all of these groups is fragmenting the possibilities of a really large vibrant community. Any comments on that?

In any case, happy new year to everyone; let's hope 2009 is a huge improvement!


Dr. PDG said...

Nicely done, Richard!!!

The primary issue I have with PMI (and believe me, I have MANY) is their apparent blatant disregard for anyone who faults their methods, products or services.

Just because they are the largest, does not mean they are by any means, the best, but instead of being humble, they appear to be growing more arrogant and high handed. One of more glaring examples is despite several credible research efforts (one funded in part by PMI) establishing that project management is NOT a profession, PMI in particular insists it is.

However, the over-riding concern lies with the fact that despite close to 50 years of professional organizations purporting to represent the practice of project management, projects still fail with alarming regularity, which indicates to me something is radically wrong with what these organizations are advocating.


Bill Duncan said...

Nope. Would only be interested if PMI decided to use the same approach we used originally in 1996. The current document is too inconsistent and has too much bad or misleading information to be useful to anyone not studying for the PMP exam.

Mike Haden said...

With respect to the PMBOK v4, Rich, I can understand the mild interest from most of those not involved in training. For the most part it's the same as V3 with some notable exceptions - for instance, it's good to see "Gather Requirements" and the re-introduction of PERT analysis.

With respect to the plethora of PM groups on LinkedIn, I second the motion that there be some discussion about bringing them together. Is each group so particular to require its own definition? I doubt it.

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