Many in the Project Management profession aspire to gain a Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential from the PMI®. Achieving this certification requires a number of years in a leading role, plus textbook study to pass an exam. It does not, however, require experience at applying best practices at work. As a result, qualified PMP®s are not necessarily equipped with the relevant experience needed to fulfil their role in projects effectively.
The Practical Certification Programme (PCP) places a good deal of emphasis on the ability to skillfully schedule and maintain a project plan for a real project, using industry-standard software. Scheduling is not managing. But effective Project Management requires the contextual management of a project schedule, which includes decisions regarding protocols and granularity, practices to support reporting requirements, everyday Project Management habits, and the ability to spot and communicate risk.
This cannot be gained simply by studying a textbook. It requires interactive learning on real projects.
The PCP is therefore strongly recommended prior to PMP® certification. This practical background, and in particular the contextual, discretionary application of key Project Management tools and techniques, allows study towards PMP® or PRINCE2® certification to become enlightening and relevant in terms of the actual work required by a future career, rather than an expensive academic exercise to gain a credential.