The Project Notebook

Holiday Spirit, Friend of PM, or Tax Break — Choose Wisely

OK, so here’s the end of year pop quiz:  The reason I am going to make a donation of at least $20 RIGHT NOW to the Jerry King Memorial Scholarship BEFORE 2012 is:

a) I’m in the holiday spirit and want to share

b) I support both education and project management; as a professional I don’t procrastinate

c) I need a quick tax break (please consult your tax professional)

d) World didn’t end in 2011 but I’m concerned about 12/21/12

e) All of the above.

No matter what your reason, your donation, no matter how small or how large, goes to support the permanent endowment of a scholarship with the purpose of enabling community, teachers, school administrators, non-profit staff, and unemployed project managers to attend REP (Registered Education Provider) certificate and certification training.  If you prefer, you can also make a donation toward many other fine scholarships and efforts of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation. Even 11:59:59pm on 12/31/2011 counts, but why delay?

A big thanks this year goes to PMI Region 7, Richard Polendey, and other supporters.  As a result, the scholarship is now approximately 1/3 of the way to becoming a PERMANENT SCHOLARSHIP (not bad after 2 years).

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate and recognize Stephanie Burden of Gilbert, AZ. She is a member of the PMI Phoenix Chapter, and she is taking the “PMP/CAPM Exam Prep Course” administered by the PMI Phoenix Chapter, which is a PMI R.E.P.

Stephanie has been a project manager for the past eight years with no formal training, and she strengthening her skillset with her pursuit of the PMP and finishing up her Technical Management with a Project Management concentration degree at DeVry University. Once she attains her PMP, she hopes to volunteer for the Phoenix Chapter to help others attain it as well.

Congratulations Stephanie!  And thank you for giving back to the community!

So here’s the deal — head on over to either Firstgiving or PMI Educational Foundation and click that Donate button RIGHT NOW.  Whether you donate or not, let’s show the world the power of the profession — retweet, re-post, re-status, re-Digg, re-everything else you can think of — by getting the WORD OUT NOW….  I want to hear from complete strangers that they’ve heard of this scholarship and the work of the PMIEF.

No matter what your holiday …. MERRY KWANSIKKAHFESTIMAS (or is it CHRISTIVUSHANZAAMAS?)! Thank you for your support in 2011 and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a Happy and Healthy 2012!


2011 Leadership Institute Meeting

Day 1 is coming to a close with the Community Awards and the graduation of the 2011 Leadership Institute Masters Class. Over 800 in attendance representing over 177 Chapters. PMI now has over 600,000 members and credential holders. Over 7,000 volunteers work on behalf of the profession. This is due to amazing growth globally. The Leadership Institute Meeting is a pre-Global Congress event.

Validating PMI Board Participation

Back around 2003, before PMI had an online registry of PMI credential holders, a recruiter contacted me as a local Board member to help them determine how to validate that someone was actually a PMI credential holder.  Turns out they sent an “alleged” PMP® on an interview and the individual didn’t even know what PMP® stood for. Turns out it was almost as easy at the time — a quick call to PMI Customer Care was all that was required. A brief consultation and further embarrassment was avoided.

What impressed me at the time was that someone actually thought the value of the credential was so high they would risk lying on a resume and a job interview. But a recession was in progress and the rate of unemployment was high. But today, unemployment is even higher, and so sadly are the claims. A resume recently crossed my desk with the claim “Active in local PMI Chapter and served as Board Chair in 2001”. Having been a local Chapter leader for five years and now volunteering for a Global Operations Center committee, it smelled like an issue from the start.  What’s more, this person was within the Region I served for two years as Component Mentor — so I not only have some insight into my local organization, but have friends in and insight into organizations in my region, and indirectly through networking, around the world.

Now I’m obviously not going to give all the details here, but there are records both public and private that tell the history of a PMI Chapter.  They are relatively easy to investigate.  Today if you browse the web sites of Chapters, you will find that the majority of the Chapters choose either “President” or “Board Chair” as the title for their leader. Still more records are available publicly through past web sites via the Internet Archive.  What alerted me to this issue was the Chapter in question has titled their leader as “President” for as long as I can remember and never had a “Board Chair”. The other problem I had was that I was on the Board of my local Chapter since 2001 and was involved in regional activities since 2002 and never heard of this person. I attended the first regional meeting in Santa Rosa California.

Of course this could have been a simple error.  However as with any corporate Board, before becoming President or Board Chair, you spend time in another position so as to learn a bit about the organization and its governance.  In my case, I spend 2-3 years as Director of Public Relations and then as VP of Communications, before becoming the President Elect.  As President Elect, I had only a few responsiblities centered around shadowing the President and developing a forward plan.  It would be highly unusual for someone to come on board as a “Board Chair” without first serving in another role. There was no additional information on this resume about previous activity, but at the same time, the individual made it very clear they started as Board Chair.  This person also claimed to be “recruited” into the position.  PMI Chapter leaders are elected by the members and rarely appointed, usually only to fill a vacancy on a temporary basis. 

More than 3,200 volunteers per year lead the geographical communities, ensuring their alignment to the organization and providing value to members. False claims to have been on the Board of a PMI Chapter is an insult to the hard work and what must be hundreds of millions of volunteer hours that have gone into growing the organization for 40 years into what it is today — more than a half a million members and credential holders in 180 countries.

So if you are an employer and you want to check statements such as “I was Board Chair”, there are some reasonable steps you can take to validate this participation.  First, since around 2000, most PMI Chapters have had a web presence documenting their current status and history.  The Internet Archive is a great starting point because you can enter the current URL and find a snapshot of that web site as it existed years in the past.  This particular Chapter put up their web site around 2000 (at least that’s as far back as the archive goes), but documented their elected Board all the way back to 1997 in 2000.  I generally prefer not to involve local Board leaders in trivial activities, but if further validation is required or you cannot find the information needed, contact the current Chapter President or Board Chair.  To meet various local and international laws and rules, they have access to a system which provides this documentation.

The Adventure and Growth Continues

Back in 2009, I reported on my volunteer experience with PMI (A New Adventure) having just wrapped up a term as the Component Mentor for Southwest North America and transitioned to the Community Development Governance Committee.  This post finds me on my annual trip to PMI’s Leadership Institute Volunteer Planning Meeting to begin my third year on this committee.  Our goal is to build awareness and foster adoption of governance best practices, and provide coaching and guidance for PMI Chapters with governance challenges.  We have been accomplishing our goals through publications, presentations, and defintion and implementation of governance related practices and processes.  Beginning this year, my role will expand as Governance Liaision to Western North America.

Like the profession and the organization, the Volunteer Planning Meeting continues to grow and continuously improve.  The meeting this year includes 160 volunteers from 25 countries in addition to PMI staff.  45% of attendees are graduates of the Leadership Institute Masters Class.  Our work influences the growth and development of 268 chartered and potential geographical communities in approximately 185 countries, 36 vitual Communities of Practice, 200 CoP leaders, and 3,150 Chapter leaders.  These communities serve over a half million members and credential holders.  This investment in strategy and planning is what makes PMI the world’s leading non-profit professional association for the project management profession.  In 2011, the community grew by 14 chartered and potential Chapters.

I’m pleased to be able to continue to represent and serve my profession and am looking forward to a productive new year.

2011 Leadership Institute Volunteers

2011 Leadership Institute Volunteer Planning Meeting Attendee

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP