For those new to this blog, we have planned a Construction CPM Conference for January 12-15, 2011 to be held at the Swan & Dolphin Resorts, Walt Disney World, Florida. Details at www.constructioncpm.comMajor Sponsors include Oracle Primavera®, Deltek Open Plan® and Acumen Fuse™. Our keynote address will be provided by Irv Richter of Hill International.  

We have 100 sessions, largely devoted to basic and advanced theory and software training. We still have a few sessions open for a presentation of your project (showcase) and demonstrations of your specialty software (clinics). And while the exhibit area is rapidly closing out, we still have a few tables available.  

Our BIG NEWS is that AACE (Association for Advancement of Cost Engineering International) will be conducting their PSP (Planning & Scheduling Professional) exam at our conference on January 12th 

What is the PSP Certification and why should (or not) practitioners become certified? 

A number of the posts of this blog and many of the responding remarks have commented upon the issue of “screen jockeys” who may understand (or at least use) a specific software product, but not understand the underlying theory. While a licensed professional engineer is typically deemed “as certified” in any field in which she or he practices (imposing self discipline to not “practice outside one’s areas of expertise”), the national mood is to require certification in specialty disciplines for both licensed engineers and unlicensed technicians.  

Perhaps the public perception of self discipline, even among professionals, has been eroded in recent years, or perhaps the degree of increasing levels of specialty knowledge may be behind this trend.

I suggest it is the increasing sophistication of software wizards that allow untrained or inexperienced practitioners to mimic competence. Graders of the AACE PSP exam indicate that more points are lost than elsewhere on the sections requiring the test taker to write a narrative.  

The prime purpose of use of the software is not to print reports, but to assist the user to communicate important information to the field, and to the management of the owner, contractor, subcontractors and other interested parties. Each of these end users is more interested in an explanation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the currently updated schedule, than whether the screen jockey can apply the correct color or font to the dashboard or bubble chart report.   

The need for this level of education is the driver behind the Construction CPM Conference. Education and training in the theory as well as practice, and certification thereof controlled by our technical societies such as AACE (with the PSP exam noted above) and PMI (with the PMI-SP exam) are a welcome response to the increased power of our software tools.