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Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

The votes are in. It’s never been a better time to be a project manager than in 2018.

While the IT skills gap is driving demand for talent in the cyber world, the project management skills gap is growing. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2027, employers will need to fill nearly 90 million project management related roles.

What does that mean for project management professionals? In short, it means opportunity, a well-compensated career, and a chance to do work that is desperately needed.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how and why project managers are needed in 2018 and how talented professionals can forge a career they love in this current market.

The Terrible Cost of Bad Project Management

project management professional 2018

Before we talk about how project management can help, it’s important to discuss why project management is important. The truth is, bad project management practices aren’t only wasteful and annoying, they can mean a huge loss of revenue.

Here are just a few shocking statistics about how bad project management professionals slow down production and cost businesses millions of dollars.

  • Around 70% of all projects fail
  • The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy $50-$150 billion annually.
  • IT failure rates are estimated to be between 5-10%, a loss of $50 billion to $150 billion per year in the U.S.
  • 75% of respondents lack confidence in project success due to fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework (Source.)

It’s clear that working without project managers, or with unskilled project managers, has a negative, measurable impact on revenue. However, project managers can also have a real positive or negative effect on team morale.

Perhaps one of the most important ways project managers help is by identifying over or underperforming workers. An underperforming worker could be disengaged and not pulling their weight, leaving a burden on the rest of the team. Meanwhile, an overperforming employee may be micromanaging other employees or bringing morale down.

Lastly, good project managers shut down toxic workers. This is especially important because reliable employees are 54% more likely to quit their job even when there’s only one toxic employee.

The Magnitude of the Project Management Talent Gap

Now that we’ve identified the need for project management professionals within an organization, it’s important to return to the talent gap. First of all, how bad is it?

As we mentioned earlier, employers will need to fill 90 million project management related roles by 2020. This includes positions like project managers, program managers, portfolio managers, business analysts, change management experts, and more.

What industry will be host to these new jobs? The short answer is, everywhere, but some of the biggest needs will include:

  • 7 million jobs in manufacturing and construction
  • 5 million jobs in information services and publishing
  • 6 million jobs in finance and insurance
  • 7 million jobs in management and professional services
  • 279,000 jobs in utilities
  • 49,000 jobs in oil & gas

Source.

This problem gets even worse when you widen the scope internationally where the result could be a potential GDP loss of 208 billion dollars in 11 countries.

Estimated Project Management Jobs by Country 2017-2027project management skills gap

With this all in mind, it’s clear that there are a lot of opportunities to build a much-needed, well-compensated career in project management. Now the question is, what does project management look like in 2018?

Project Management Trends in 2018

This field has undergone quite a few changes in the last few decades and this article wouldn’t be complete without touching on some of the most important trends. In 2018, here’s what will be at the forefront in the minds of most project managers.

  • Resource Management: As qualified workers become scarce across the board, project managers must figure out how to make the most of the staff they have. This means that deciding when you have the proper resources to start a project is becoming more important.
  • Hybrid Project Management: In the past, it may have seemed that traditional and agile project management were in conflict. However, as different situations call for different management styles, there will be a call for more hybrid project management styles. This is something we touched on in a previous article.
  • Project Management Office: More organizations are seeing a need for a group or department to standardized project management across a company. This is known as a PMO or Project Management Office and there are definitely benefits. In companies that have a PMO, 38% more project succeeded and 33% fewer projects were deemed failures.
  • Project Management & Cyber Security: There is now a  wide range of online solutions to help coordinate projects. That means that cyber security is becoming more and more of a concern. While online solutions make it easier to collaborate and can be great for productivity, there are concerns about data being vulnerable to hackers and a need for solutions.

Now that we’ve established the top trends for project management, as well as the overwhelming need for project managers in general, it’s time to talk about salary.

Salary Trends in Project Management

Internationally, the median salary for project managers is $74,900 even for those with less than three years of experience. However, this number rises to $108,200 for project managers working in the U.S. For professionals with more experience working in high-demand areas, the median salary can climb as high as $125,000 annually.
project management salary

These numbers may change yet again when it comes to project management talent in the most demand industries. In places like the financial world, IT/tech, or staffing, the salary range can top out as high as $165,000.

PMP Project Management Salary

Another factor that has a huge effect on salary is certification. In general, project managers who are certified are more competitive job candidates and have a better chance at a higher salary. This is especially true for high-value certifications like the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.

Project Management & PMP Certification in 2018

What exactly is the value of a PMP certification? Well, according to one estimate, a certified project management professionals in the U.S. commands around 20% more in salary than their uncertified counterpart.

PMP Certification Fast Facts

  • In nearly all countries, median salary steadily increases with PMP tenure.project management skills gap
  • Titles that a PMP-certification project manager might have include director of project management office, portfolio manager, project management specialist, and project management consultant.
  • The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), signed into law in 2016, means that many federal government project management jobs require a PMP certification.

In terms of salary breakdown, here is exactly how the PMP certification affects salary.

project management salaries

Why is this difference so stark? The answer is simple. The PMP certification “codifies what a project manager is, and how a project manager works.”  Basically, project management is all about organization and the PMP provides a strict framework for completing project effectively.

It’s clear that project managers are needed, important, and well-compensated. So, if you’re looking to start or advance a career in project management, what is the next step?

Getting PMP-Certified with LeaderQuest

Project Management SalaryAt LeaderQuest, we employ expert instructors who will not only help you prepare for your PMP exam, but are veterans of the application process as well. We pair the ITIL, CAPM, and PMP certifications together in our Senior Technology Project Management program so you have all the tools you need to be successful.

Our scheduling is flexible with classes that are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night to fit any work schedule or learning style. Once you’ve finished your first class, our career services team will use their contacts and resources to help get hired!

Project management isn’t just important, it’s sorely needed in a world where bad project management can cost valuable time, money, and man-hours. If you’ve been thinking about getting into this field, why wait? With the project management skills gap, a career in project management in 2018 is sure to be an incredibly valuable career. The time is now.

If you’ve been looking for a way to invest in your future, take the leap today!

Get PMP Certified!

10 Tips on How to Pass the PMP Exam the First Time

10 Tips on How to Pass the PMP Exam the First Time

Getting your PMP certification can give you a huge career and salary boost so it is no wonder why this is one of our most popular programs here at LeaderQuest.

The PMP exam is a tough one and requires a ton of preparation and diligence. If can take some people months to feel properly prepared to take the exam. There are so many exam resources, forums, advice posts and you can spend longer reading about how to study for the PMP than actually studying!

The cost to take the exam is over $500 so you will want to do whatever you can to pass the exam on their first attempt. We have a ton of experience with pre-test jitters from our students as well as seasoned and experienced PMP instructors who all shared some invaluable tips on how to successfully study and pass PMI’s Project Management Professional, or PMP exam the first time around.

 

1. Choose Study Materials that Complement Your Learning and Life Styles

For those who have had an established career for several years, you may not have had to study for anything in a long time!  The first thing you should do is assess how you learn. Learning methods that worked years ago may not work for you anymore (or maybe they never did!)

Here is a quick learning style assessment to determine your preferred learning style and also tips on what you can do to accommodate your learning style.

2. Less Memorizing, More Understanding

Memorize Less, Understand More[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]IT Certifications serve as confirmation of knowledge to potential or current employers.[/inlinetweet] The PMP® certification is the most important and valuable industry-recognized certification for project managers and demonstrates that you understand the global language of project management.

With that being said, it then makes sense that memorization alone will not get you your PMP certification. The PMP exam is notorious for long explanations, tricky wording, and distractor answers. You must feel the Process Groups as they move through a project and understand the Knowledge Areas so your brain can process things in the correct way. When you do this, the misdirection will easily be revealed leaving the correct answer shining brightly in the dust! There are definitely formulas you will have to memorize, such as the Schedule and Cost Management formulas, but they are only tools and won’t help unless you have the foundational understanding.

So, instead of memorizing everything in the PMBOK, try to look at real-world situations so you can really understand the concepts. It will help you make sense of the loads of ‘theory’ you are trying to learn!

3. Join a Study Group

One of the more powerful study tools is a study group. Being around people who have similar motivations and goals will help you keep your focus. You will not be able to procrastinate, you will generally learn faster, you will get new perspectives and learn new study skills. In addition, it will give you a break from the monotony of studying by yourself and it can help to fill in learning gaps.

If you are not able to find a live group, try joining an online group or forum. It may not be as effective as a live group, but you will get support from like-minded people that know firsthand what you’re feeling and going through and that alone can greatly impact your motivation and self-confidence!

4. Always Use the Latest Version of the PMBOK®Guide

This may sound pretty obvious, but it’s been asked enough that we need to mention it here! Always purchase the newest version, currently the PMBOK® Guide—Fifth Edition. The Sixth edition is planned for release in early 2017. Read about recent 2016 PMP exam changes.

5. Take a PMP Exam Prep Class

Students who take a Prep class or a PMP boot camp are more likely to pass the exam on the first try. There are many sites where you will read that you don’t need a prep course. One of the most popular searches on Google about PMP is how to pass the test without a class! However, we are here to tell you that the likelihood of passing the PMP exam on the first try goes WAY up when you have a live, experienced instructor in a formal setting.

You will learn more efficiently since you won’t be struggling with concepts that an instructor can address and explain easily. You will gain invaluable insight from being around people who have massive experience with the exam itself. You will have other people around to form a study group with and learn from. You will also get assistance with the cumbersome PMP application process. The support and value you will get from a classroom setting is unmatched. Read more about the benefits of attending a class for PMP certification.

 

Learn about the LeaderQuest PMP prep program!

 

6. Immerse yourself in Project Management

Make as much as you can in your life about project management while you are preparing for the exam.

Change your desktop and phone wallpaper to something that reminds you of project management to keep you centered on your main goal.

Get some smartphone apps to practice with or reference when you are on the go – there are a bunch of reference and exam prep apps available, many of which are free.

Create dump sheets whenever you have spare time so you can quickly review and reference information. Writing things down has the additional benefit of helping visual and tactile learners remember key pieces of information.

7. Mock Exams, Simulators, Sample Questions

Probably one of the more important things you can do to prepare for the PMP exam is to take as many mock exams as possible. As we mentioned before, the exam questions themselves can be very tricky. Remember to read the entire (long-winded in some cases) explanation but FOCUS on the actual question. Sometimes the explanation is a type of misdirection in itself.

Don’t wait to take a mock exam. Start taking them early on so you can identify your knowledge gaps and focus your study on what you need. Make sure you review ALL your answers, correct and incorrect to cement your understanding of the concepts.

The PMI does not have a set passing percentage. “PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty.” Meaning that every candidate is evaluated individually. It is believed that you need to get, on average, around 62% but we don’t like to leave things to chance. You are going to want to try to get to the point where you can answer 85% of practice questions correctly.

8. Flashcards

While they might take you right back to your classroom days, there is a reason why teachers at all levels encourage flashcards. Flashcards engage active recall – essentially forcing your brain to remember a concept – so flashcards are great for the items you can’t go without memorizing. Flashcards also enhance long-term retention so you will actually know the material long after the exam when you have to put it to use in real life! Flashcards improve comprehension skills and have been shown to increase exam scores. If you need more convincing, here is an entire article on how flashcards improve learning!

9. Supplemental PMP Resources

In addition to the standard PMBOK, there are several resources that students find extremely helpful. Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep is meant to be studied side-by-side with the PMBOK so dig in for a very rigorous session.

Another preferred book is Head First PMP by Jennifer Greene. The Head First book is aimed more for beginners and covers the basics of project management so it is much easier to follow but won’t test you at the level of Mulcahy’s book so it might not be the right resource for experienced project managers. However, for beginners, you may want to start here and then head over to Mulcahy’s book after you master some of the initial concepts.

There are several other very well-written books out there. The best thing to do is read the reviews before purchasing so you can get the book that is best for you!

10. Be Prepared on Exam Day

avoid-crammingContrary to every movie we’ve ever seen, one of the worst things you can do before your exam is stay up all night studying. PLAN AHEAD! Make sure you have adequate study time in BEFORE the exam so you can get good rest the night before. As we mentioned before, the questions are tricky and you have the added stress of time limits, a formal exam setting, and nervous test-takers. The last thing you want to do is go in on a couple hours of sleep!

You also want to get into “exam” mode the day or evening before. Stay hydrated, go work out, take a walk, meditate – whatever you do to eliminate stress.

On the day of the exam, time management is important. Don’t let your nervousness get you off-track. Answer the easier questions first! You should plan on conquering 200 questions in the first 3 hours, leaving the last hour to review 30-40 of the questions that you had difficulty with or want to double-check.


Being well prepared and taking the right steps will make you more confident and relaxed on exam day which will make it easier to pass the PMP exam the first time!

Learn about the LeaderQuest PMP prep Course!


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Must Have Tech Skills for 2016

Must Have Tech Skills for 2016

Around the world, there is one overwhelming fact: Computers play a greater role in day-to-day business operations than ever before. In the 1960s, computers were bulky and complex and technology experts were not as widely needed. In the 80s and the decades that ensued, more and more businesses began to rely on computers and the demand for IT professionals began increasing exponentially. With the advent of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s, knowledge of computers was plainly required to acquire and keep a high paying position in almost any field. Technology skills are needed in just about any industry from the automotive field to aeronautics to even the music industry!

The trend continues into 2016. Professional recruiters are looking for candidates who are knowledgeable about computers–whether it is data analysis, website development and design, or technical support. Here we’ll examine some of the top fields in which information technology experts will be needed, and the IT training to take to prepare for a career in IT in 2016!

Computer Service Technicians / Help Desk and Technical Support

Computer service technicians are valuable for their ability to troubleshoot and repair a variety of consumer devices including personal computers, laptops, mobile devices, and personal assistant devices. Technology is infiltrating our lives more each day. From media to automobiles, lights to security systems, even furniture, appliances and the newest – “wearable tech” …technology is everywhere.

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As we all know, technology is great but only when it works. But when it doesn’t, technicians are the ones who save the day! Job growth is expected to grow exponentially as technology invades all aspects of our lives – whether we want it to or not!

For those wishing to begin a career in IT, this type of position is a great starting point. To become a service technician, most companies will require a basic skill set in personal computer essentials, networking, and basic security. CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), founded in 1982, at the dawn of the personal computer age, offers a variety of courses such as A+, Network+, and Security+ that will get you up to speed quickly on these basic requirements. By attaining IT certifications in these courses, it will prove to potential employers that you have a solid understanding of foundational IT concepts. They also have set guidelines of ethics and professionalism. Many CompTIA training and certification courses can be completed in under a month and CompTIA certifications can get you started on the path to working for Fortune 500 companies across the country. The courses and certifications pay for themselves in the long run. No matter which IT career or field you wish to enter, this training and certification looks excellent on a resume.

If you are interested in learning more about this career path, be sure to visit our Computer User Support Specialist IT Training program page!

Project Management

According to the Computer World website, 39% of their survey respondents said they will be seeking a candidate with project management experience in the next 12 months. This skill has been in the top of desired skills for several years and is not going anywhere! There are so many businesses that wish to move ahead with all kinds of information technology projects. These companies need people who can design such projects and see them through to completion. This line of work requires that its workforce possess not only the ability to create and design projects, but also to lead a team. Recruiters seek leaders who have successfully led a team of IT professionals. Project management positions require several years in the IT field. Once you have the necessary experience, you can enroll in a project management training program that will help you get your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification to prove your skills to potential employers.

Programming/Application Development

This skill is very much in demand today, and that need will increase in 2016. People who can design programs for cars to accomplish feats they were not capable of executing 20 years ago are sought after by recruiters in the car industry, for example. Back in 1995 few people envisioned that a program would be able to speak to a person in a very pleasant voice and give driving directions. Moreover, at that time driverless cars were not even thought of! Yet because of programming and application development, these things exist today.

If you are hoping to land a job in this field, you must have a strong computer language background. You should look for IT training that specializes in computer languages such as JavaScript, Python, Ruby, SQL, Java, Python, C#, Swift (formerly Objective-C), Ruby, PHP, C.

Web Development / User Interface Design

Web Design and Development continues to score among the top 10 skills that job recruiters in our area seek because businesses understand more every day about the importance of a strong Internet presence and the power of such a presence in building a customer base. A Web designer must be able to build a website that looks professional, has an intuitive and mobile friendly user interface, write and optimize content and tags for search engines, and more. Classes in HTML, CSS, AJAX, jQuery, and search engine optimization will aid in the acquisition of this very much in-demand skillset.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security continues to be among the top 10 most needed skills in 2016. Internet and network security breaches are prominently featured on the news all the time. U.S. News estimates that hackers cost companies more than $445 BILLION annually! Someone who is knowledgeable at keeping hackers and other cyber criminals at bay is extremely valuable and well paid at modern IT companies. There are several courses of study available for cyber security, from CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) to CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) to Vulnerability Assessment to Penetration Testing. With all of these specialties, talking to an experienced IT career consultant is advised to determine the best cyber security educational path.


The field of IT is rife with opportunity. Computers and the Internet are now integral parts of everyday life. They affect how you read, communicate, drive, check the weather, shop, watch TV, listen to music, and more! Computers have majorly impacted those individuals who work in fields such as health care, finance, retail, and education, just to name a few. Think about a career in IT and start your new future today!


LeaderQuest has campuses in Denver, Colorado Springs, Dallas, and Jacksonville. Contact us today for a campus tour or to discuss your IT career with an experienced IT Career Advisor. (866) 378-0761

What is Changing about the PMP Certification Test in 2016?

What is Changing about the PMP Certification Test in 2016?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

If you are thinking about earning the Project Management Professional, or PMP certification, you may have heard about changes coming to the test in the near future. You may be wondering how this will effect the LeaderQuest PMP certification prep courses in the next few months. Or maybe you’re wondering if you should delay taking a project management course until next year. I will now try to demystify these changes.

Should I Wait to Take a Project Management Course?

As the instructor and content provider of the PMP prep course, I am watching and keeping up with the changes to the exam as they are released in real-time. During this period of transition, I will keep students updated and apprised of the changes when students take the project management course. There is no need to “delay” taking the course or worry about the changes.

Remember the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is the most important and valuable industry-recognized certification for project managers. The PMP certification demonstrates that you understand the global language of project management and allows you to network with professionals, organizations and experts worldwide. The terminology in the project management world is constantly changing and being updated. This has been true since the PMP certification was created in 1984. These changes are not intended to cause challenges to obtaining the PMP cert, but keep the certification relevant.

What is Changing with PMP Certification?

The main thing that you need to understand is that there are two types of changes coming in early 2016.

The first type of changes involve the Role Delineation Study (RDS). Changes to the RDS provide an updated description of the project management professional role which included updates to domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills. The RDS serves as the foundation for the PMP certification exam and ensures its validity and relevance. Exam changes caused by the update to the RDS will cause a new version of the PMP exam to be administered after January 11, 2016. What does this mean to you?

There are minor changes to the exam content outline. The weighting of the exam topics will be changing. Changes to the RDS introduce new topics to the exam. A summary of the tasks being added is shown below:

  • Initiating – 3 tasks added
  • Planning -1 task added
  • Executing – 2 tasks added
  • Monitoring and Controlling – 2 tasks added
  • Closing – No new tasks added

All of the LeaderQuest Project Management classes taught from this month forward will include the changes listed above so that students can be ready for the new PMP exam.

The second type of change involves the creation of a new version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. The current version is the PMBOK® Guide—Fifth Edition. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is currently in the process of developing the PMBOK® Guide—Sixth Edition. The PMBOK® Guide is the leading global standard for project management. The PMBOK® Guide contains the processes that project management experts agree are necessary for most projects in most environments. The PMBOK® Guide reflects the evolving knowledge within the profession. Processes are presented by Process Group and Knowledge Area. Publication of the PMBOK® Guide—Sixth Edition is expected in Q3 2017.

Changes to the PMBOK® Guide may cause project management terminology and process group changes. The new exam will not go into effect until several months after the release of the new PMBOK®, therefore the LeaderQuest PMP certification Prep Course will be changed in plenty of time before the date of the exam changes.  Also, remember that the PMP course is based on other references other than the PMBOK® Guide.  Therefore, the prep course has a great deal of content that will not be changing.

Given that the exact date of the sixth edition of PMBOK® Guide is not known, the exact date for project management course changes cannot be determined at this time. These changes will go into effect in the same month that the new guide is released to ensure that students are ready to take the new PMP exam when it goes into effect.

 

As you plan to earn the PMP certification, you will be prepared for the changes coming to the test in the near future. You can be assured that the LeaderQuest PMP preparation courses will be updated at the appropriate times in the next few months, and you should not delay taking a PMP prep course. I hope this helps you to understand the changes to the PMP exam and I hope to meet the project managers that are wanting to earn their PMP certification in the future! If you are not sure whether you need a PMP prep course, read on here.

Why Do I Need a Prep Course for the PMP Certification?

Why Do I Need a Prep Course for the PMP Certification?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

Many of you reading this blog, the LeaderQuest website, the Project Management Institute website, and other websites, may be wondering, “Couldn’t I just read the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and pass the PMP exam?”  You may be asking, “Do I really need to spend several days in a project management professional (PMP) preparation course?” And you also may be thinking, “Could I save money by studying and preparing for the PMP certification on my own?”

These are all very good questions…

As an experienced project management instructor with over 15 years of teaching and mentoring under my belt, I would highly recommend taking a PMP class – including paying the tuition for the class AND spending the time in a class. And here are a few reasons why…

Project Management Training Makes Study Time More Efficient

Most of my past PMP students lack the formal project management training to understand and learn the PMBOK material in order to pass the test. A PMP prep course will speed up the learning process and make the study time efficient, which actually SAVES you time!

Fly through the Cumbersome PMP Exam Application Process

Many candidates have questions about completing the application process and receiving approval from PMI to take the certification exam. A good PMP prep class will explain the application process in detail and provide support with that process after the course is complete so that students receive approval in a timely manner to take the certification exam.

Additional PMP Class Resources

Many students do not realize that the PMBOK is not the only source for PMP certification exam content! The test is based on the PMBOK and other current titles in project management. A good preparation course will provide you with help with the additional content beyond the PMBOK and help you understand the PMBOK Guide completely.

Increase your Chances for Success

Students who attempt to study for the PMP exam on their own have a significantly less first pass success rate than those students who take a PMP prep course. Many students become frustrated after failing the exam the first time and do not EVER re-take the exam and earn their certification. For those who do re-take the exam, candidates have spent extra money in PMP certification fees to re-take the exam and have wasted critical time in the preparation process. Here at LeaderQuest, the first-time pass rate for students who take our PMP prep course is over 99%!

So in short, set yourself up for success. No one wants to be the frustrated, resentful student who attends the PMP prep course after failing the test the first-time! This student typically has a much harder time re-learning the materials and has blocks in their learning process caused by the emotional pain of failing the test. This failure and frustration can be avoided by getting help the first time around.

Passing the PMP certification exam is a challenging and worthwhile achievement. By taking the PMP prep course, preparing to take the exam, and receiving the support and guidance you need to be successful, you can successfully and efficiently obtain your PMP certification.

To learn more about the LeaderQuest Project Management Course complete with PMP Certification prep click here! We have classes in several different locations and different times to meet your busy schedule.

Good luck and hope to see YOU in my next PMP course!

Project Management Instructor Marcia Ingino

Marcia has more than 16 years of training and development experience in both corporate and educational environments. Her consulting background in the Fortune 500 includes technical engineering and IT experience, progressive management skills in multiple industries, and international training facilitation.

What is the Difference Between Projects and Operations in an Organization?

What is the Difference Between Projects and Operations in an Organization?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

As a project management instructor, I have helped students with many PMP applications. The questions that is always asked is, “What can I put on my PMP application for a project?”

When I answer this question, I usually begin by telling the student the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique productservice or result. I also teach in my PMP Preparation class that a project is:

  1. Temporary
  2. Unique
  3. Beneficial

Then, I usually give examples of projects like building a house, buying a car, implementing a new IT system, or developing a new product. All of these examples have a start and end date, deliver a unique product, and when completed have benefits to the customer. At the end of the project, the product is transferred to the new owner to be used, and the new owner must maintain the product. This maintenance is operations work and will go on until the product ends its useful life. For example:

  • Building a house is a project
    • Maintaining the house by cleaning, painting, and upgrading are operations work completed by the owner
  • Buying a car is a project
    • The car needs care like gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, and tune-ups, and this is operations managed by the driver
  • Implementing a new military system is a project
    • The system will be sustained by a specialist doing back-ups, upgrades, and system maintenance – this sustainment is operations work
  • Developing a new product is a project
    • The sales people will sell the product and the support staff will support customers using the product.  This is operations completed by the company for customers.

After this discussion, the project management students than ask, “Well, I’m confused – isn’t EVERYTHING a project?”

I respond, “Well sort of…it depends on if the work is defined as a project for the customer, it depends who is doing the work, and why the work is being completed.”

For example, an oil change is operations for the owner of the car, because it is part of maintaining the car. The oil change is a project for the auto mechanic, because for the mechanic, the oil change has a start and end (several minutes), it delivers a unique product (clean oil and filter), and when completed has benefits to the owner of the car (a well running motor that will run for a long time).

After this discussion, most project management students are able to document the projects they have managed and successfully complete their PMP application. After completing their project descriptions and getting approved to take the PMP exam, the students finally know exactly what they did from a PMI perspective.


Project Management job growth is expected to grow by 18% between 2010 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PMP certification can qualify you for new jobs that are becoming available every day!

Are YOU interested in learning more or achieving your PMP certification? View our 8 day training program and PMP certification prep here. Or simply call us today at (866) 378-0761!