Project Management & Planning Articles

Do Small Business Owners Need Project Management Certification?

by Denise O´Berry
Published on 16 May 2012

Planning a small business project

One of the many hats small business owners wear is called project management. Project management is simply setting an objective to do something - create a marketing piece, update your website, develop a new product - and then getting it done.

There are a million little things that need to be done to accomplish the objectives you set out to do - planning and organizing resources like people, money and time - so that's where project management comes in.

Most small business owners can make do with some basic training (and perhaps a project management software app) to accomplish what needs to be done. Breaking down objectives into manageable tasks, assigning them to resources with a timeline, monitoring budget and keeping scope in check aren't rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.

You can find much of what you need to know just by searching the interwebs. And practice will make you a better project manager as time moves on.

Some Clients May Require Project Management Certification

Managing your own projects is one thing, but what about managing projects for other people? Can you get by on shoestring training and still be successful? Well, that depends.

It's important to have systems and processes in place to provide consistent results on client projects. Project management can help you organize your work around those systems and processes so you can save time and make money. Adding project management software to streamline those processes can help you out too.

Depending on what type of services you offer and the clients you serve, they may request you have formal project management certification to ensure your internal processes meet a specific criteria. This is likely to be the case if your clients are large corporations, government or educational entities.

The most common certification is known as the Project Management Professional or PMP. It's offered through the Project Management Institute (PMI) which has developed a Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) for project managers.

The PMBOK basically breaks down project management into four key process groups:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling

Which are further defined in nine key knowledge areas:

  1. Integration
  2. Scope
  3. Time
  4. Cost
  5. Quality
  6. Human Resources
  7. Communications
  8. Risk
  9. Procurement

Having the knowledge shared in the PMBOK would never be a bad thing for your small business. But for most small business owners, certification is a bit of overkill. Unless your clients require it, you'd be better off spending your time and energy growing your business into a thriving and sustainable enterprise.

What do you think about PMP certification for small business owners?