After thinking about it long and hard, I finally decided I needed to go out and get the formal project management certfication. So after preparing for about two months, taking a course that WellStar very kindly paid for, and studying like a mad man for about three weeks, I took the PMP test yesterday. It was the hardest test I've taken since I had undergraduate Thermodynamics in 1989. The biggest thing that most people going into the PMP exam don't realize is that it isn't a case of studying the facts. PMI, the company that owns and runs the PMP certfication process, assumes you know the project management rules and terminology. No, the point of the test is to see how you apply them. In particular, they want you to answer with the interpretation of how all of that is applied that they themselves would use. It's a test of situational judgement . . . and you should NOT USE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT. To pass the test, you have to put on the persona of a PMI certification author and answer with what *they* would do in that situation. And even with that, there are quite a few questions on the exam that seem to be judgement calls that even PMI isn't consistent on. I'd say, to get a perfect score on the PMP exam, you either need to have a psychic link back in time to the mind of the PMI question writer at the time they were writing the question, or you need to be plugged into some sort of PMI zeitgeist that must flow just under the surface of reality, like a Platonic project management reality of pure PMI reason. (a somewhat oxymoronic term, that last.)
Actually, I did find the process very valuable. It is much more pragmatic about the dirty realities of getting project work completed in the real world. It honestly does not preach. There is a good deal of useful information, much of the best of which I learned in my 'Organziational Behavior' class in the MBA program at USF. But still, useful stuff. No matter what I do next, the process was probably worth it.
Never mind, I've done it . . . I've gained my PMP certification. The test was hard as HELL, but I passed it. So, yay for me! :-)
The next step is to figure out what to do with it . . . and then to make sure that in the next three years I get enough PDU's (certification renewal credits) by 2017, so I can keep it for three more years after that.