As a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification holder, you will need 60 Professional Development Units (PDU) every 3 years for your re-certification. There are 2 divisions and 6 categories of PDUs defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
In this article we will review the "Giving Back to The Profession" division, which includes Categories D, E and F. You can earn a maximum of 45 PDUs in these categories combined. These categories intrigue many project managers so we would like to shed some light and simplify what they actually mean. And yes, if you like the idea of earning free PDUs, then keep reading.
Category D - Earning PDUs By "Creating New Knowledge"
One of the PDU categories defined by the PMI is Category D for "Creating New Knowledge". This could sound rather complicated to many project managers, but in fact, it represents one area that project managers could earn part of their required PDUs for free.
The PDUs claimed in Category D relate to "Creating New Knowledge" and would count toward the 45 PDU maximum for categories D, E and F. All these 3 categories are part of the 'Giving Back to the Profession' division.
Qualifying activities in Category D include authoring or co-authoring articles and books on project management. Although this might sound demanding, you don't have to be as good a writer as Henry Mintzberg to quality for earning PDUs in this category.
You can write articles about on your area of expertise, or you could contribute to a professional blog or newsletter. All you have to do is reflect about the topics you are good at, and write about them in a tone that interests other readers in a similar field. For instance, if you are particularly interested in Earned Value Analysis, put together an article about your last experience and lessons learned when you applied EVA to your project.
If your brain feels really stuck for new ideas, simply write a Case Study about your ongoing project, your organization, and what went wrong or right in applying your project management knowledge? Of course make sure you have your management's permission before publishing articles about your company or its projects, past or present. The main rule is that every hour that you spend preparing and delivering these articles or case studies counts as one PDU. The PDUs you get by working on items like this count towards Category D, which is part of the 'Giving Back to the Profession' categories.
Category E - Earning PDUs Through Volunteer Service
Volunteering for work at your local PMI Chapter can count toward your PDU credits. In fact, volunteering for a legally recognized non-profit project management organization, excluding your regular employer, can count towards your PDUs. Volunteering means you don't get paid, so you get free PDUs against working for free! Volunteer work, which can be incredibly rewarding, falls into Category E. You can claim 1 PDU for each hour of service. The PDUs earned from this service would count towards the combined maximum of 45 PDUs for categories D, E and F.
Qualifying activities include things like serving as an elected official on a committee, working on PM standards and participating in research work. Even volunteering as a project manager on community projects counts, so if your local school or sports group is carrying out a project, become volunteer in managing that project and claim those PDUs. Beware that you need to get a letter from the organization you are volunteering for, acknowledging your participation, in case of audit. By the same token, if you mentor or coach someone, you can also claim hours of mentoring or coaching on your PDU record. You will need some evidence to show that you are mentoring or coaching a colleague, so you can ask them to sign an attendance sheet or keep records of the time you spent with them for coaching or mentoring.
Category F - Earn PDUs With Your Day Job as a PM
Your day job can also contribute to your PDU credits. If you are a project manager you can get up to 15 PDUs for your recertification cycle through Category F. The same counts even if you only work part-time or as a contractor. As long as you spend at least 6 months every year carrying out project management services, you can claim up to 5 PDUs a year. That gives you a maximum of 15 PDUs across the 3-year cycle, which is big 25% chunk towards your total required PDUs.
In case of audit by the PMI, you need to provide proof of employment for the relevant time periods to show that you really were working in a project manager or in other project related field over those years.
Other than being free, the next great thing about these 15 PDUs is that they can include all aspects of project management. So even if your job title is not 'Project Manager' you can rely on your project-related activities to count towards your PDU total. For instance if you work as a Risk Manager, or in the Project Management Office (PMO), or as a Project Scheduler, all this project-related work can be added to your PDU credits.
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