What is PMI?

The Project Management Institute (PMI)PMI is the Project Management Institute, a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to “advancing the practice, science and profession of project management throughout the world”. They do this in a conscious, proactive manner to increase the chances of adoption and utilization of PMI project management processes in organizations throughout the world.

The Project Management Institute was founded in 1969 by working project managers; today, there exist over half a million PMI members. PMI is also a certificate-granting organization, the most famous of which is the PMP (Project Management Professional) credential. The full list of credentials offered by PMI include:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

In addition to issuing credentials, PMI also publishes a variety of standards. The most widely recognized of these is the PMBOK (Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge), a comprehensive book of project management norms, methods, processes and practices. It is this guide that PMP certification candidates must study in order to pass the PMP examination. The full list of standards include:

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
  • Construction Extension to the PMBOK Guide
  • Government Extension to the PMBOK Guide
  • Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3)
  • Practice Standard for Earned Value Management
  • Practice Standard for Project Configuration Management
  • Practice Standard for Scheduling
  • Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures
  • Project Manager Competency Development Framework
  • The Standard for Portfolio Management
  • The Standard for Program Management

PMI features a research department that has sponsored projects since 1997. To date over US $15 million has been invested in the project management profession.

PMI is a dynamic organization. Throughout the world, a great number of PMI chapters host PMI chapter meetings where project management practices are discussed and presented by a variety of project management experts. While PMI-based material is of course frequently presented at these meetings, topics may also include non-PMI-based project management materials.

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2 Responses to “What is PMI?”

  1. Brian, with all due respect, I think you missed a few of the less positive aspects of PMI.

    It is a “not for profit” organization with over 100 million dollars in liquid assets.

    Despite what, 300,000 PMP’s globally, projects still fail with alarming regularity.

    PMI, in violation of their own Code of Ethics, claims that project management is a profession, when not one, but two published research efforts, one of which was funded in part by PMI, have established that project management “is not now, nor is it likely in the foreseeable future, to be recognized as a profession”.

    So to be fair, IMPO, PMI is first and foremost a marketing business, selling a vocabulary based, entry level credential and encouraging people and organizations to believe that having the PMP means one is a professional project manager, when there is nothing to back up that claim.

    One man’s opinion….

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

  2. Dr. Giammalvo,

    Thanks for posting and for pointing out some of the controversies surrounding PMI – I appreciate your taking the time to do it! It is definitely the case that PMI and its processes are not the be-all and end-all of project management, and that PMP certification does not guarantee that the bearer will be able to manage and complete projects successfully. I do think PMP certification is a step in the right direction for project managers – defining proper processes, creating work breakdown structures, and ensuring that estimates are respected (and that with schedule changes must also come changes in other areas) do go a long way toward bringing more credibility to the project management doctrine.

    I am sure there are many other vehicles that also exist to help bring credibility and success to project management and project managers, and I am interested in learning more about them – this site is by no means meant to be biased solely toward PMI, and I look forward to conversations about all other aspects of project management.

    Thanks again for your comment!

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About the Author

Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.