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Project Management: A "must-have" eDiscovery skill

Project Management: A "must-have" eDiscovery skill

Even if your role does not include the words "Project Manager" in the title, Project Management is a skill needed by most (if not all) eDiscovery professionals. Survey respondents from the Women in eDiscovery 2019 Salary Survey indicated that project management was the top task performed across job titles, yet only 5% reported holding a formal project management certification.

This post examines the following:

  • Pros of pursuing a formal Project Management Certificate
  • What resources are available to pursue a project management certification?
  • What other resources are available to enhance project management skills in lieu of the formal certifications?

Pros of a Project Management Certification

Many eDiscovery roles do not require a project management certification, yet managing aspects of a project fall within the scope of the day-to-day responsibilities. Project Management, when applied in eDiscovery, often varies from the traditional project management taught in these certificate programs, yet knowledge of these processes can be a valuable resource and applied to eDiscovery projects. 

Here are the pros for pursuing a Project Management Certification:

  • Increased visibility
    • With a Project Management Certification, you will stand out when applying for jobs.
  • Promotion opportunities
    • A Project Management Certificate can provide increased compensation and promotion opportunities. Per the Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey (Eleventh Edition), for Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate holders in the United States, the median salary is 25% higher versus those without the PMP certification.
  • Skills
    • Certification prep teaches and reinforces project management skills.
  • Transferable
    • A Project Management certification is transferable to other industries outside of legal tech/eDiscovery.

PMP Certification

The PMP Certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is often recognized as the most "in-demand" project management certificate. But let's not forget to mention that this exam is hard. It consists of 200 multiple questions and has strict experience prerequisites. The prerequisites for the PMP Certification are:

  • 4-year degree, 3 years of experience leading projects, AND 35 hours project management education/training or CAPM certification
    - OR -
  • High school diploma or associate's degree, 5 years of experience leading projects, 60 months leading projects, AND 35 hours project management education/training or CAPM certification

After qualifying for the PMP, you need to pass a 200-question multiple choice exam and maintain 60 hours of professional development every 3 years.

PMP Resources: The Project Management Institute website has a ton of great resources, here are some to get you started.

Not ready yet for the PMP?

The PMP exam is notoriously difficult and dry. And don't be surprised if the content you are required to study in preparation for the exam is not what you use in your day-to-day eDiscovery PM role. There are other certifications and study materials outside of the PMP that can add value in your pursuit of project management skills:

Final Notes

Most of the project management study material seems abstract and dry when simply reading about it. I recommend studying/reading up on the project management phases and then actively applying the frameworks and processes to a current project you are working on. Don't force yourself to apply all of the frameworks and processes, try and see what works and makes the most sense for your project. Practice makes progress!

Peace, love, and eDiscovery

Heather