CompTIA Project+: Project Management Forefront
Pulling together all the right pieces at the right time and managing everything through to completion is critical to the success of any project a business undertakes. To do that, a skilled, trained and certified workforce is essential. One of the skills taking heightened prominence today in many organizations is project management.
Project managers are among the people most in demand today, according to multiple industry sources. For example, a Gartner Inc. survey found that while organizations plan only small increases in their information technology staff budgets in 2006, they intend to devote more of their staff budgets to project and program management, IT administration and system and network management.
Clearly hiring needs are changing. No longer are technical skills enough. Employers are looking for employees who have both the technical know-how and the business savvy to meet the growing and ever-more-demanding needs of the business.
Growth Within IT
Why the growing interest in project management within IT?
More than ever before, IT is integrated into all aspects of business. Chief information officers increasingly report directly to the CEO and have a seat on the company’s management committee, where they can strengthen their relationships with key executives and deepen their understanding of the business. CIOs are spending less time on damage control and more time on helping to set the strategy for the company’s future.
With that elevated stature, however, comes greater expectations. Top executives are demanding greater results from their IT investments. IT is being run “like a business,” with performance measures and return-on-investment metrics. Thus, the demand is high for managers who can bring projects in on time and at (or under) budget, and ensure that the projects deliver the promised benefits valued by the organization.
Project management has evolved into a pervasive skill that crosses multiple departments and job titles. An increasing number of people from the business side of organizations are being asked to perform project management duties on “IT” projects.
For example, the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning system might require project management responsibilities in the accounting department, the human resources department and the IT department. What people are now realizing is that many projects impact virtually all facets of the business. To manage them properly, a special skill set is required.
Although no two projects are ever the same and every project has its own unique set of challenges, there is a common core of principles that, if followed, will lead to a successful conclusion. Project management styles can vary widely by individual or by company. But there are some traits that are common to all good project managers: the ability to get the job done, good communications skills, decision-making and technical expertise among them.
A great depth of knowledge and skills are required to be a successful project manager. There is a unique set of principles and concepts that one must master to become proficient in project management.
CompTIA Project+ certification is a foundation-level professional certification intended for individuals requiring project management skills at an introductory or intermediate level. The certification is targeted at individuals looking to demonstrate that they have a comprehensive understanding of these core project management best practices and can apply these principles in real business environment settings.
CompTIA Project+ is a credential recognized around the world and will assist individuals with “project manager” in their titles as well as others that manage projects. In essence, anyone who is managing projects within their job function but does not dedicate 100 percent of their time solely to project management is a good candidate for Project+ certification. This includes business analysts, networks analysts, support analysts, supervisors or team managers. Today, more than 10,000 people worldwide hold Project+ certification.
Project+ certifies that personnel have mastered job-task knowledge equivalent to 2,000 hours of project management experience. The certification is based on a comprehensive industry-led job-task analysis of IT project management skills, including critical “soft skills” such as communication, negotiation and conflict resolution.
CompTIA Project+ certification can help a project manager to prioritize and focus project management efforts simply by following the framework of the exam. The exam includes four domains (or topic categories):
- Project Initiation and Scope Definition (20 percent)
- Project Planning (30 percent)
- Project Execution, Control and Coordination (43 percent)
- Project Closure, Acceptance and Support (7 percent)
The exam for this certification includes about 80 questions. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is available in English and German.
The Need for Certification
Industry research indicates that 74 percent of all projects fail, come in over budget or are late. Proper training and professional certification in industry-accepted best practices for project management can significantly reduce these risks because certified professionals have the knowledge to overcome obstacles successfully and complete projects on time and within budget.
A recognized professional certification such as CompTIA Project+ gives the professional’s internal customers a greater sense of confidence in that individual’s ability to manage a project.
For workers, certification in project management demonstrates that they possess another skill set that makes them more valuable to their current employer and more attractive to potential future employers. They place a premium on personnel who can successfully manage or coordinate internal and external projects. Project management capabilities add an extra dimension to a career, giving the individual greater options and opportunities.
Lisa-Ann Barnes is the president and founder of IreeTec Inc. and the chair of the CompTIA Project+ advisory committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.
CompTIA Project+ Information
The Project+ certification exam is designed for business professionals involved with projects with a technology component. Candidates should possess at least 12 months of cumulative experience in leading, managing and directing small- to medium-scale projects. Project+ examines the business, interpersonal and technical project management skills required to manage projects and business initiatives with a technology component successfully.
The skills and knowledge measured by the Project+ exam were derived from an industry-wide job-task analysis and validated through an industry-wide survey. The results of the survey were used to weigh the domains and ensure that the weighting is representative of the relative importance of the content.
The exam has about 80 questions, and candidates have 90 minutes to complete them.
Candidates can select from four or more response options that best complete the test statement or answer the test question.
Test items on the Project+ exam can be:
- Multiple-Choice: The candidate selects one option that best answers the question or completes a statement.
- Multiple-Response: The candidate selects more than one option that best answers the question or completes a statement.
- Drag-and-Drop Items: A drag-and-drop item requires the candidate to drag a graphic or text to a correct destination.
To pass the Project+ exam, candidates must score 499 or above.
For candidates who are not members of CompTIA, the Project+ exam costs $218. CompTIA Corporate