Does a PMP certification do more harm than good?

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I read once that the average website visitor makes their decision on whether to stay on that website in 4 seconds. That's right FOUR SECONDS.

This has me wondering if putting PMP after ones name is such a good idea anymore - particularly in the world of software development. For those of you that may not know, PMP stands for Project Management Professional, and is a certification provided by the Project Management Institute.

Now, I'm sure most people that have a PMP certification, and certainly the PMI, probably think this is a crazy question. But I think it's something a good project manager should really be wondering about right now.

If a website has four seconds to make an impression - and people are MAKING DECISIONS on whether to buy what you're selling in this four seconds - it seems like we should be paying attention to how that PMP acronym is affecting the decisions of potential buyers as well.

Certainly, there are companies that explicitly state they want project managers with a PMP certification. But I think there are just as many that explicitly don't want someone with this designation - again, especially in the world of software development.

True or not, the perception of someone with the PMP credential is that they like formal processes, don't like to iterate, look at change as something undesirable, and love corporate politics. I'm not saying this is the reality about the PMI - I'm saying there's a very real perception about this.

I no longer put PMP in my signature line, not because I wish I didn't have the designation, but because it's not the first impression I want to make on someone. I'd much rather have someone check out my website, this blog, or really, now that I'm thinking about it, pretty much anything else I've made before I would want them to see a PMP designation.

I haven't decided, but I may even let it expire when it comes up for renewal. I'm not sure.

The one thing I can say for certain is that as the economy continues to shift, as people are going to have to bring more value to a project, and as the role of the project manager continues to evolve, a certification of any kind is not going to be nearly as important as being able to show real things that someone has created.

I don't know if the certification does more harm than good, but the fact that the question needs to be asked is telling.