Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Transatlantic Division and Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) recently took part in an intensive four-day course to prepare them to take the Project Management Professionals certification exam.
Bringing the course to the Division and District Headquarters in Winchester, Virginia, enabled them to maximize participation and resulted in a substantial cost savings to the government.
According to Scott Cilley, the course’s planner, and TAD Business Integration Division Chief, bringing the course to Winchester was the result of employee feedback asking for more developmental opportunities.
“When we realized employee interest in a PMP certification was high, we looked into bringing the class to the headquarters,” said Cilley. “These are certifications that will absolutely benefit employees and the organization. Normally we’d have to send people to the class, paying a fee for each person to attend plus travel costs. Since we paid a flat rate for everyone in the class and many of those in the class are local, it resulted in significant savings to the government.”
The course, colloquially known as “PMP Boot Camp,” is much like an actual boot camp in that those attending will have a firehose of information thrown at them in a very short period of time to prepare for a final test with a reputation for weeding out the unprepared. Once they have passed the exam (taken at a later date), they will hold a PMP certification - the internationally recognized standard for project management professionals.
Over the four days, attendees covered the five process groups in the project management lifecycle and took practice exams to prepare them for the 200 question, four-hour certification exam.
“This gives the students a baseline of PM knowledge they can use to pass the exam as well as manage projects,” said Allen Evitts, the course instructor and a project management expert with over 20 years’ experience.
Those whose daily job involves project management or needed PMP certification weren’t the only ones who benefitted from the class however.
“The PMP Boot Camp enhanced my ability to synchronize and integrate the USACE portfolio into the CENTCOM Stakeholders’ engineering requirements,” said Maurice Gissendanner, the USACE liaison to U.S. Central Command. “As a strategic contributor to project management, the PMP will enable me to visualize and assess activities - within the project management life cycle lens -- to aide key stakeholders with making informed decisions on projects.”
In short, when agencies partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they are not only getting well over 200 years of engineering, construction and project management experience but the same professional licenses and certifications found in top engineering companies around the world.
In fact, most project managers are required to have the certification as a condition of their employment and in an effort to ensure leaders set the example, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Engineers, has recommended all USACE district and division commanders have either a Professional Engineer (PE) or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
"The Chief's emphasis on having our workforce obtain and maintain credentials all the way up through the command level really demonstrates USACE's commitment to our profession. Coming from an engineering background, I found it valuable to take the PMP class as I prepare to take my PMP exam. Like a PE license, a PMP certification adds credibility to our profession and our organization,” said Col. Stephen Bales, TAM commander.