As PMI turns 50 I chronicle my journey as a project manager

Have you been on the PMI website lately? If so, you would have seen the countdown clock, counting down the days, hours and minutes to PMI celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. 50 seems like a long time but is it really?  Let us start by putting this milestone within my perspective of having been a project manager with the organization for quite some time (I will tell you how long in a minute).

I was barely 5 years old when the PMI original five founders (J. Gordon Davis, Edward A. Engman, James R. Snyder, Susan C. Gallagher, and Eric Jenett) got together for what would be the deciding dinner in Philadelphia, resulting in the first-ever meeting on October 9th, 1969 to be followed with the drawing of the incorporation papers. Voila! A piece of project management history was created out of the basic need for food, community and above all sharing of knowledge. Talk about hitting the Maslow triangle in one big swoop!

I was a short distance away in Montreal, but I had just started kindergarten in September and project management was not really something I knew anything about, just yet. For that matter, not a lot of people really knew what project management was about until that fateful October when these five individuals decided to join and unite their knowledge and efforts towards what was to become one of the largest Project Management Associations in the World.

PMI has now grown over the 50 years to have more than 500,000 members on record in over 208 Countries (stats from PMI Facts ending November 2018). According to their 2017 strategic plan, the organization delivers services to over 3 million people worldwide with the support of over 10,000 dedicated volunteers. This growth and development has not been restricted to members, chapters and countries but also the number of certifications which over the years has grown from the single PMP certification first offered in the early 1980s to seven certifications now developed to meet different stages of individual development within project management. The PMP remains the most attractive and attended but to it we now add: CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management), PMI-RMP (PMI Risk Management Professional), PMI-SMP (PMI Scheduling Professional), PgMP (Program Management Professional), PfMP (Portfolio Management Professional), PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Professional) and most recently PMI-BPM (PMI Business Processes Professional).

What remains true to this day is that at its core PMI is a volunteer organization focused on project management. Historically, PMI has positioned itself as a membership-focused professional association responsible for the development of professional certifications, educational programs, thought leadership, volunteer programs, advocacy, and networking opportunities. These offerings are a critical component of PMI’s brand and hopefully will continue to be a part of the PMI experience for the next 50+ years. (PMI Strategic Plan – 2017)

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