By Sheila Roberts
CPD is a requirement to maintain membership of APM, IPMA, PMI and retain the qualifications of AgilePM and several other methods. Why, when as a project professional, you are practising your skills continually? Some people consider it simply a way of making money, others as invading their privacy.
I would compare with other professions. Should your Doctor to treat you with only the medicines which they had available when they qualified? Does your accountant know the current tax rules? Do you expect a solicitor to know the latest changes to the law? We need at least equal standards to run projects which can have significant impact on the organisation and wider society.
As a Chartered Assessor I see many CPD logs and the attitude of the person towards CPD is clear by what they log. On one extreme there is a long list of courses and at the other items are included which are a part of business as usual and are not necessarily new learning for them.
What is the ideal approach to CPD? Some organisations set guidance for the CPD expected. This varies from specifying the talent triangle with three categories with the minimum CPD hours in each, to a number of points from a variety of activities. A mix provides a balance of input and guidance about the objectives of CPD is helpful to individuals new to the profession.
The mix can include reading articles or books, attending webinars, seminars and conferences, providing input to special interest groups, teaching or volunteering to take the profession forward. When I review CPD logs I am cautious when I see review meetings and supplier workshops– particularly if they are repeated. I want to see an individual showing a real interest in the profession, using a mix of input and reflecting on how they applied learning to practice.
My CPD last year includes a qualification course, conference, special interest group, volunteering in relation to strategy, reading, webinars and discussions. I undertook each thing for interest, not concerned about the number of hours. However when I added them up I was in triple figures (although it was only a week from work). This level is not needed of everyone. My role requires me to understand a wide range of methods and approaches, while volunteering is from my own interest and in my own time. Although, if someone is serious about being professional, I believe their actions should reflect this by wanting to explore and understand aspects of the profession.
While we all learn continuously, I believe that CPD should take us forward more than we would expect from our day to day role. It should add value to what we do.
If each year we reflect and can see that we have gained in knowledge or capability during the year, our CPD is effective. If we have simply maintained the level we were at the start of the year we are not building on our foundation, although you may already be at a high level.
In the words of the famous footballer Pele: ‘Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.’ Keep up the CPD!