What Is the Project Management Institute (PMI)?

Definition & Examples of the Project Management Institute (PMI)

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The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a professional organization for project, program, and portfolio managers.

Learn more about PMI and its certifications.

What Is the Project Management Institute?

PMI is a membership organization comprised of almost 3 million professionals in the project management field. Its goals include career enhancement, organizational success, and maturing the project management profession.

It offers certifications, research programs, membership chapters, and professional development.

  • Acronym: PMI

How the Project Management Institute (PMI) Works

Project managers play a pivotal role in many organizations. PMI helps set the standard for what's expected of project managers and bring consistency when they move from one workplace to another.

To help project managers succeed, it offers a range of resources. For example, Pulse of the Profession is an annual report on trends and emerging topics in the field. It also has a thought leadership series each year focused around a specified topic.

PMI also has developed a code of ethics and professional requirements that its members are required to follow.

PMI Certifications

PMI offers several project management certifications. They include:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): The PMP certification is highly regarded. To qualify, you need either a four-year degree with 36 months of leading projects and 35 hours of project management education and training or a high school diploma or higher with 60 months of leading projects and 35 hours of education. If you qualify, you'll need to pass an exam and pay a fee.
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): This is an entry-level certification requiring a high school diploma or higher and 23 hours of project management. You have to take an exam to receive the certification.
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP): Program managers handle multiple, related projects. This certification requires 48 months of project management or program management experience. You'll also need to undergo a panel review and take an exam.
  • Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP): This is a senior certification for portfolio managers, who align projects and programs within an organization. It requires at least 96 months of business experience in the past 15 years and either 48 or 84 months of portfolio management experience depending on your level of education. You also need to pass a panel review and an exam.

PMI Membership

You can pay to be a member of PMI, or pay a bit extra and join your local chapter. Both have advantages, so if there is no chapter nearby, you can still gain a lot from membership. PMI also offers discounted student memberships.

PMI members receive a quarterly scholarly journal called "The Project Management Journal." You also can access an extensive range of online resources including research studies, back issues, and an article library.

If you're interested in joining a chapter, you can find them all over the world. The PMI website maintains a list of local chapters. It won’t be hard to find a group that meets near you, and if there isn't, you can always start one.

To get started, go to a local chapter event and introduce yourself. You don’t have to be a member to attend many of the events put on by local chapters—just check before you turn up. Sometimes events have a fee attached to them.

Another great way of meeting project managers who are PMI members is to go to one of the Global Conference events. These are held in the major world regions where PMI has a presence. The event locations change from year to year, with some hosted in locations such as Spain and the U.K. to give different local chapters the chance to host.

Global Conference events attract many project managers, but even smaller chapter-led conferences are a great place to meet and network with PMI members.

Key Takeaways

  • The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a professional organization for project, program, and portfolio managers.
  • It has more than 3 million members and offers certifications, research, local chapters, conferences, and professional development. 
  • The Institute offers highly regarded certifications in project management. Qualifying for these certifications is rigorous, and some require years of experience.