What Is the Project Management Institute (PMI)?

Professional Training
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PMI is an acronym for the Project Management Institute, and it's a membership organization that aims to provide members with the tools and network they need to make a difference as project managers and to succeed in their careers.

The Purpose of PMI

PMI bills itself as “the world's leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project management profession.”

It was set up in 1969 by a small group of dedicated project managers who wanted to do something to bring people in their emerging discipline together. It advocates for project managers and has a thriving education program that offers project management classes in schools, amongst other things. It also sponsors higher education students for academic research.

For the project manager on the job, it offers a range of publications and professional events to help you build your network and improve your skills. The Pulse of the Professional annual reports offers an in-depth look at various aspects of project management from assessing the value of what project managers do to highlighting the cost of poor communication.

Importantly, it also manages a code of ethics for project managers. Finally, it administers a range of qualifications.

PMI Certifications

PMI offers a number of project management credentials, and there’s something for everyone. For example, if you are just starting out in your career, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a great entry-level qualification. If you have more experience, you can go for the flagship certification, Project Management Professional (PMP).

The organization offers eight certifications in total:

  1. Project Management Professional (PMP)
  2. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  3. Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  4. Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
  5. PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
  6. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
  7. PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
  8. PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

There is a good range of skill certifications, so whatever skills you want to improve or prove to employers, PMI likely has something to offer.

Other Opportunities PMI Offers

As well as providing certification programs, membership in PMI offers other opportunities as well. You can pay to be a member of PMI, or pay a bit extra and join your local chapter. Both have advantages, so if there is no chapter nearby, you can still gain a lot from membership.

PMI members receive a scholarly journal once a quarter called The Project Management Journal. There’s also a monthly magazine and a quarterly membership news bulletin. Additionally, you’ll get access to a huge range of online resources including research studies, back issues, and an article library that is only accessible by members. You can join as an individual, student, or retiree.

Where to Find PMI

There are PMI chapters all over the world in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and North America. There’s a complete list of all the chapters on the PMI site. It won’t be hard to find a group that meets near you, and if there isn't, you can always start one. PMI is also active online, through the Project Management online community.

How to Meet PMI Members

Go to a local chapter event and introduce yourself. You don’t have to be a member to attend many of the events put on by local chapters—just check before you turn up. Sometimes events have a fee attached to them.

Another great way of meeting project managers who are members of PMI is to go to one of the Global Conference events. These are held in the major world regions where PMI has a presence so they will normally involve traveling to the host city.

The 2019 PMI Global Conference, for example, is taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and project managers from all over the region will take part. The event locations change from year to year with some hosted in locations such as Spain and the U.K. to give different local chapters the chance to host.

Global Conference events attract a lot of project managers, but even smaller chapter-led conferences are a great place to meet members of PMI and to find out what benefits it could offer you. You can find out more on the official PMI website.