The Project Notebook

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.

You Know You are the “Knighted” Project Manager When ….

With the widespread recognition of Project Management as a valuable corporate core competency, the current economic client, and the continued challenges of doing more with less, I continue to observe more and more project managers that have been bestowed the title (either by themselves or their managers) without the proper support and training to truly fulfill the role in a way that will help them and their organizations succeed. Here are the top 10 ways you might determine if you have been put in this position:

10. You feel you are spending more times in meetings than doing anything else
  9.  You don’t know what PMP® or CAPM® stand for
  8.  You believe the primary responsibility of the project manager is to produce a Gantt chart
  7.  You believe senior executives will read your Gantt chart
  6.  You have a copy of the MS Project documentation, but not a PMBOK® Guide
  5.  You have trouble balancing your checkbook let alone a budget
  4.  You believe that “managing by influence” includes financial payments
  3.  Your status reports contain nothing but issues
  2.  You don’t know that there are ANSI and ISO standard for the practice of project management
  1.  You aren’t aware there is an organization with more than half a million stakeholders serving an estimated market of 19M project management practitioners worldwide

If more than 2 or 3 of the above apply to you, please come back and visit this blog frequently as well as visit our partner sites!

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Grateful and Resolute – 2010 in Review

Christmas 2010 found me in Palm Springs once more for one last getaway before 2011 started with a bang! In just two days I’ll be departing for Philadelphia for the sixth annual PMI Leadership Institute Volunteer Strategy Meeting — this will be my third year on the Community Development Governance Committee of the Project Management Institute. On the 16th I’ll be taking the train to Washington DC and spending a week meeting with and training clients there.

2010 has been a year of abundance and family, loved ones, and friends of course remain at the top of the list of things for which I am grateful. I have an ever expanding contact list of amazing colleagues throughout North America and on multiple continents. My work as the Director of Project Services and Support also allows me to have an impact on education, which I’m sure everyone knows has become a serious issue across the country. And with the minor health issues of the past year behind me, 2011 is shaping up to be one of the most productive and abundant years ever.

For you, my readers, I am also grateful. Despite the fact that I’ve taken an extended blogging break, the site continued to have a steady stream of visitors. My special thanks to Susan Peterson who continues to allow me to republish her articles and Fadi El-Eter of PM Hut for his continued support.

Some of my highlights for 2010 include:
– A substantial improvement (and increase) of EDmin’s support and services offerings
– Two additional online offerings of Controlling Project Costs and Risks as part of the UCSD Extension Project Management Certificate program.
– Continued contributions to the PMI Educational Foundation Project Management Scholarships targeted to teachers, school administrators, and unemployed Project Managers in the Southwest US; medical research at three significant university facilities tackling some of the medical issues which have had the most impact on family and friends; The Clarkson Fund; and World Vision. See the “I Support” area on the right of the blog.
– Graduation from PMIs invitation only Leadership Institute Masters Class
– I began integrating social networking with Linked In and FaceBook to the blog and completion of a blogging platform upgrade

The Project Notebook is now celebrating its Grand Re-opening. There will be a special event and some special giveaways to commemorate the occasion. Details and timelines are available in a “sticky post” which head up the blog. As promised, the blog is re-opened on a new platform. I’ve chosen WordPress for its component architecture and availability of hundreds of available plugins, hosted by Dream Host (one of Orange County California’s top employers). The new services and template for the blog will allow me to offer some advanced features not previously possible. For the blog theme, I’m using Grid Focus by Derek Punsalan of — I’ve been reading Derek’s Uneasy Silence blog for some time now. It contains news of offbeat and unusual technology.

Have you been shy about commenting on a blog article? The new site will has two ways to share your expertise and opinions. First, there are a series of voting buttons at the end of each post. No need for a detailed explanation — just click the button to vote (after which you will see how other rated the article or page). The site also supports the reCAPTCHA application for detailed comments — in addition to commenting, your validation (are upi human or computer spam?) contributes to digitizing books. Its a win for all!

So if you have any thoughts you would like to share, please rate the post, leave a comment, or drop me an email at Thanks for reading and a Happy, Healthy, and Abundant New Year to all!

left-to-right: Gregory Balestrero, CEO; Ray; Gene Bounds, Board Chair

Membership in a Growing Profession

In these difficult economic times worldwide, I continue to be delighted to find that the Project Management Institute continues to grow. More than just a growth company, PMI is perhaps the world’s largest professional learning community. It represents my investment in me and continues to have high returns.

It seems like just yesterday PMI reached 200,000 and then 250,000 members. Last year, growing about 6 or 7%, the organization is on a path to half a million members, having made significant inroads into the 300,000s. And on the bigger scale, this professional learning community has more than half a million members already when you combine in those with certifications who also participate in the organization in some way or another. If nothing else, they are learning to earn their PDUs to renew their certification.

A friend from Canada recently brought to my attention a situation where some local members did not want to pay their dues, since their company would not. For me personally, this does not align well with the PMI strategic plan or purpose. Membership in PMI is about leadership. Membership in PMI is about creating value for me and my employer.

I’ve always been independent in this matter and have almost always paid for my dues personally. Its because of the value I receive as both a member and a volunteer within the community. While I’m certain I am receiving value, I’m hoping my employer will as well, if not in all aspects of my work, at least where I am in a project management role.

So I ask you, my fellow professionals, to continue to enhance and develop your leadership skills, and demonstrate to your employers the value of project management. Volunteering with PMI (locally or globally) is one of many good ways to do this. Volunteers are eligible to participate in many leadership opportunities while serving the community.

To understand the importance and challenges of leadership, I would encourage you to visit the Total CIO blog and consider the challenges of “Why be Led by You

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