It used to be that you could see trends counted in terms of decades. The fifties had leather jackets and car hops. The sixties had long hair and music festivals. Now you turn around and the phone you bought yesterday is already obsolete, or the version of your operating system needs to be updated.
Keeping with the world around us takes time and effort and being a Project Management Professional is no different. Once you have your PMP you have to keep up with the times in order to stay current.
PMI, the Project Management Institute is a version ahead. The number one global PMP certificate is recognized globally because they keep their standards high and they expect certificate holders to do so as well.
PMP certification has opened a wealth of opportunities for you, better pay, better projects, maybe even international travel. To keep that momentum going you have to keep up with the trends. You have to make sure the version of You is the latest version. You have to keep updating.
Your PMP certificate has to be updated. It has to be renewed.
This isn’t the certification exam. You’ve already met those requirements. You have the education and field experience necessary and you have completed the 35 contact hours necessary to sit for the exam.
Most importantly, there isn’t an exam. You’ve passed, and one of the first things you need to do is start working towards renewal to keep your certificate current.
Every three years, PMI requires you to submit proof that you are the latest and best version of a project management professional that you can be and the following is how you do it.
Change is Good
The process of getting your PMP certification took into consideration your experience, and your knowledge. Issac Asimov said “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
As a PMP certificate holder, you are a problem solver. PMI sets certain standards that you have to meet, not just to get your certificate, but to hold your certificate. This is what PMP renewal is all about.
Most of the requirements are things you are already doing, it’s just a matter of keeping records and submitting your time. Professional Development Units (PDUs), and the outline that PMI gives you to earn them has been found to be the best way to keep your knowledge up to date.
All certifications through PMI require renewal, not just PMP. So learning about what it takes to get your PMP renewed can help with any other certificates, like CAPM, Agile, or Scrum.
Each certification requires you to report Professional Development Units (PDU) in order to meet your Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). PMI aims to preserve their status by maintaining yours. Ensuring that you are continuing to meet the rigorous demands of a project management professional, putting your best foot, or version, forward for years to come.
PDUs vs. Contact Hours
PDUs aren’t the same thing as contact hours. They can be earned the same way, through coursework but there are a variety of other ways to earn your PDUs as well.
PDUs also aren’t perpetual. Once they are submitted they can no longer be counted. The 35 contact hours that you earned in order to sit for your exam, on the other hand, never expire. You can use them for other certifications, such as Agile, or Scrum.
Contact hours are earned by learning the knowledge areas and processes in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). The exam is centered around this knowledge. PDUs, however, are earned by retaining and updating your understanding of what it means to be in the field of project management.
When and How Many PDUs Do You Need?
Every three years, from the date you received your certificate, you will be required to submit 60 PDUs for renewal. If you received your PMP on October 2, three years later, PMI will need your renewal packet completed.
PDUs can be earned in a variety of ways and many of them you were planning on or have already completed. By understanding and planning ahead, which is what you excel at, and taking the Agile approach, constantly adapting to meet the needs of your profession, you are well on your way.
Ways To Earn PDUs
Sixty sounds like a lot, but when you break it down over three years, that’s a half a week of work each year. As stated above, many of the items that can be submitted are tasks you are or were going to complete anyway.
PMI has broken down the PDU requirements into two classifications, Education and Giving Back to help you know where you stand. Both of these have several categories to choose from. There are limits, so make sure to document another thing you are a pro at.
Before going forward let’s talk a little about PMI membership.
PMI membership can provide you with a variety of educational opportunities. By joining PMI renewing your PMP Certificate becomes a lot easier, and there are numerous benefits to being a member
For $129 a year (as of Sep 2022) you:
- Become a part of the largest PM community
- Have the ability to track your certification status with myPMI
- You can download the latest PMBOK® Guide for free
- You gain access to PMIstandards+™ digital content solution
- You unlock 1,000+ tools and templates
- You have more, free opportunities to earn PDUs
- You save on career-advancing certifications
- You have access to relevant jobs with the PM Job Board
- You are able to stay up-to-date with PMI publications
- You can access the digital download of the Disciplined Agile “Choose Your WoW” book
- You have the opportunity to join local chapters for educational and networking opportunities (an additional annual fee for local chapters may be required)
- With local chapter membership you can earn PDUs through meetings, local seminars and other opportunities as well as network with Project Management Professionals in your area.
Membership in PMI can help you to network with other project managers as well as provide you with the opportunities to meet your educational requirements for your PDUs.
Pretty straight forward. Any time you are learning about project management you may be able to count that time as a PDU. Each PDU is equal to one hour of actual time. One hour of sitting in a classroom, one hour of watching a TedTalk, one hour of reading a white paper, all can be counted.
Documenting is key to all PDU submissions. The education category allows you to earn at minimum 35 of your 60 PDUs in the three year period, 35 Minimum.
You can choose to earn all 60 of your PDUs through education:
- Training or courses
- Organizational Meetings
- Informal Learning
- Online/Digital Media or
1. Training or Courses
PMI provides a list of approved educational events. From seminars and conferences, to chapter meetings and workshops, PMI offers a variety of project management specific courses and training to help you increase, update, and inform you of all the changes within your field.
Courses may be a few hours, or a few days. Different industries are represented to allow you to focus your continuing education. A variety of places and times are also available so that you can work them into your schedule.
Many courses provide online opportunities, so travel time doesn’t need to be considered. Just a good connection.
“The Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC) is an independent academic accreditation body with policies, procedures, and standards for project, program, portfolio management and related programs at the bachelor’s, post graduate and doctoral degree levels.” For individuals looking to receive their degrees, these approved colleges and universities furnish certified study specialized to project management. Training courses by REPs and third-party providers: Registered Education Providers(REP) and third-party institutions also provide training on topics related to project management. They announce their calendar of programs from which if anything suits your budget and convenience, you could sign up for these.
Many organizations are PMI Authorized Training Partners. These organizations provide professional development units pre approved by PMI. PMI’s website has a list of such opportunities. It’s just a matter of finding ones that fit your schedule and signing up.
2. Organizational Meetings
If you have joined a local chapter of PMI you can attend meetings, seminars, and workshops while networking with fellow project managers in your area. These meetings all offer PDU credit that you can submit.
Your company may also sponsor meetings, or brown bag lunches that can provide you with PDUs. Check with your HR department to find out if any company wide meetings meet the criteria.
3. Informal Learning
Structured professional discussions, learning lunches, and brainstorming sessions are all informal learning situations that can be counted towards your PDU requirements. Keep track of time, place, subject matter, and participants.
4. Online/Digital Media
Webinars and video learning opportunities are a couple of different ways that you can utilize the internet to earn your PDUs. ProjectManagement.com is an excellent source of PMI approved online and digital media opportunities.
Articles, blogs, books, white papers, and even information about PMI and the PMBOK can all be counted towards a PDU. As with online/digital media, ProjectManagement.com offers a variety of reading PDU possibilities. Keep track of time, title, author, and subject matter.
The Talent Triangle
The talent triangle is PMI’s way of assuring that your Continued Certification Requirements are well rounded. Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen are the three sides of the triangle. You must complete 8 hours of each of these parts of the triangle in order to renew your certificate. After those 24 hours are fulfilled, the rest of your PDUs can fall under any category.
Some courses and workshops or seminars may provide you with the entire block of 60 PDUs required for the three year period. Make sure to check they provide you with opportunities in all three areas of the triangle.
Ways of working is a way to show that you are keeping up with the technical aspects of project management. Getting your Agile certificate, receiving training in new programs or apps to help facilitate the scope of work, or a variety of other skills, or behaviors that you learn to work within a specific field, program, or project can all count towards the 8 hours of Ways of Working PDU.
Power Skills are the leadership skills that you use to communicate with team members, stakeholders, resources, etc. Learning the latest ways to communicate as well as knowledge of how to communicate, especially in the current work environment are key to keeping and getting ahead. Professional project managers are consistently ensuring that they have the ability to and capability of communicating effectively with anyone they come in contact to for the job.
Business Acumen was formerly known as Strategic and Business Management on the triangle. Being aware of “macro and micro influences” PMP certificate holders help keep the organization, as well as the industry they are working in, to the high standards set by PMI. Developing productive strategies to facilitate good decision making and staying aware of the overall sustainability of projects to focus on local as well as global impacts is key. Learning opportunities that focus on the business benefits which go beyond the project management position, help to complete this final part of the triangle.
The sides of the triangle don’t have to be completed in any special order. There may be some renewal periods where the focus of the industry leans more towards one side than the others, but each part of the triangle must have 8 hours within the three year renewal period.
Giving Back PDU
Unlike the education PDU, Giving Back has a maximum that you can earn. There is no requirement that you earn any, but if you do go forward with Giving back as part of your PDU renewal requirements there are a few things you should know.
You can only count 25 PDUs from the Giving Back category. Of those, 8 can be counted just for being you. That’s right, 8 of the Giving Back PDUs are “Working as a Professional”. PMI recognizes that by working in your certified role as a project manager, you provide value to others with your knowledge and skills. Your PMP allows you to give back.
The other 17 Giving Back PDUs that you can earn fall into the volunteering & creating knowledge category.
- Creating Content: Writing a blog, white paper, creating presentations, or conducting webinars on project management all count towards the 17 Giving Back PDUs. Even preparing a presentation for your own organization can count towards creating content, a blog you might write for your company’s website or a presentation that you create for one of the stakeholders.
- Presentation: By presenting that slide presentation, through video, webinar, or in person seminars or chapter meetings, you can earn PDUs. Most companies have social media platforms that they engage on and represent your company and your profession gives back to others.
- Sharing Knowledge: Teaching and Mentoring are also a great way to give back. You got to where you are because people helped you and now you have the chance to pay it forward. There may be a person in your organization or local chapter that has a CAPM and wants to go forward with their PMP, or you may be able to teach a course at your local community college. Share your knowledge to keep the field of project management growing and the professionalism standards at their highest level.
- Volunteer: PMI provides you with a variety of opportunities to volunteer through PMI. The Standards Committee, Education Foundation, or Insight Teams among other other opportunities are all available to you through the website if you are a member. Check with PMI to see if there are outside organizations that you can count as well. If you are a project manager in the construction field, you may lend your talents to Habitat for Humanity, or if you are in the IT field you may be able to find a STEM program that could use your abilities.
You need 60 total PDUs in a 3 year period. You need a minimum of 35 hours of Educational PDUs. Of those 8 need to be earned on each side of the triangle, Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen. You can earn all of your 60 PDUs through the education category.
If you want to earn some of your PDUs through Giving back you can count no more than 25 of those hours. Eight of those hours can be counted as Working as a Professional. The other 17 can be obtained by Volunteering and Creating Knowledge.
Many find that the easiest way is to sign up for a PDU package that provides you with the entire 60 hours. These are often online and self paced. However, you may want to opt for the seminars, or workshops. They provide you with excellent networking opportunities and access to the next big thing before it is the next big thing.
Final Steps: Reporting your PDUs
On the PMI website you will find the CCRS portal. Use your User ID and Password to login. Make sure you have the following information available:
- Provider Name/ID
- Title of the course
- Start and end date of the course
- Number of PDUs you are claiming under Technical, Leadership and Strategic & Business Management
You can login and submit throughout the three years and PMI recommends that you do this so that you aren’t left short at the end. You will be able to see the completed PDUs on your dashboard and know what you still need to complete, including what areas of the triangle may be lacking.
PMI can audit your renewal just as they can your initial certification information. Make sure to keep and submit accurate records.
Remember, you can earn PDUs just for being you. You have value as a PMP certificate holder. You are the latest version, the newest update. You have the technology. You’re a Project Management Professional.