Which of these professional military rank groups qualifies a military Veteran as a project manager in the CIVDIV?
That is the million dollar question that I get quite often from the military Veterans I educate, train, develop, and place into meaningful, lucrative project management careers.
My answer, from a purely project management perspective, is any rank group can yield a project manager capable of qualifying to earn the profession’s gold standard professional credential, the PMP®, and run projects like a boss in the CIVDIV!
Let me share my logic with you.
To accomplish projects that each have end dates and an identified unique good, service, or result a requesting sponsor expects, project managers (PMs) use communication, influence, negotiation, leadership, team and trust building, cultural and political awareness, coaching and mentoring, and decision making to create and execute plans that meet organizational objectives to enhance the organization; either theirs or their customers.
So do leaders from the ranks of Junior Military Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, and Non-Commissioned Officers. They all make plans to meet strategic and organizational objectives that are executed through their leadership of the teams they assemble, coach, and motivate.
Because JMOs, SNCOs, NCOs, and PMs all lead and direct projects, using the same interpersonal skills.
To me, in my humble opinion as a professional project management practitioner, culled from decades wearing two military uniforms and a business suit running hundreds of projects, for millions of dollars, across myriad of industries, all while hiring and mentoring hundreds of project managers, this means that if the military Veteran under consideration has ever been responsible for receiving a mission; planning, resourcing, executing, and controlling mission performance to plan; and documenting the results, he or she has project management experience that can be codified in the profession’s language and used on their PMP application, their resume, and their LinkedIn profile.
For example, when the JMO receives a mission and tasks out the pieces of work necessary to deliver the expected result to higher headquarters, he or she is the project manager of record. The other JMOs and SNCOs involved then decompose the the work items they’re responsible for into activities, schedules, team needs and capabilities, resource needs, and determine performance standards, i.e. they create a plan to produce their respective deliverables they pass to the project level for final ‘assembly’, inspection, acceptance, and delivery to the sponsor, i.e. the person asking for and supporting the project. The NCOs provide front-line purpose, motivation, direction, vision, plans, resources, and guidance to the team members ‘building the deliverables’.
Each successive PM performs processes and activities to describe what they’re doing and how it links to the large objectives and/or deliverables (initiating), planning and resourcing the plan to get there, assembling, developing, and leading the team to ‘build’ and inspect the deliverables, (planning, executing, and controlling) and documenting their results delivering the deliverables (closing). They don’t have to be the PM of record to qualify to sit for the PMP® exam, they just have to document their experience “leading and directing project activities” necessary to deliver the project. That’s the Project Management Institute’s requirement to qualify to sit for the PMP® exam. They simply must demonstrate and validate they have the project management experience doing so. That’s it.
In conclusion, for a military Veteran to qualify as a PM in the CIVDIV, i.e. hold the gold standard professional project management credential, the PMP®, they simply need to communicate their experience being responsible for receiving missions; planning, resourcing, executing, and controlling mission performance to plan; and documenting the results; regardless of whether they were JMOs, SNCOs, or NCOs.
PMBOK® Guide, PMP®, and CAPM® are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.