Alexander and the Indian King – Part 7



By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA



Products and services that are non-essential to what makes PMI what it is should remain beyond PMI’s remit, e.g. project scheduling or communications technologies enabled by  artificial intelligence or Brightline’s prospective product to enable customers to self-assess strategy design capabilities. By contrast, products and services that improve PMI’s ability to perform its essential functions should be perfected. i.e. PMI’s essential function to develop technical and ethical standards, promote those standards by distributing them at no charge, certifying people in thoses standards, etc. Think about it. Should PMI’s incoming CEO prioritize Brightline’s nascent adventurism or should he instead prioritize fidelity between PMI’s standards and certifications?

PMI is the largest professional organization associated with enabling individuals to become more professional in project management. PMI’s primary standard is “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” or “PMBOK Guide,” which is the basis of PMI’s primary certification, the “Project Management Professional” (PMP) certification. While there are over 6 million copies of the PMBOK Guide in circulation, only 871,000 people are certified PMP’s. Why are there so many more consumers of the standard than persons certified in it? And the fact that there are only 528,000 members of PMI is another telling statistic. But even more arresting is the fact that PMI has earned over one billion dollars on PMP certifications to date, and PMI holds over fifty million dollars in reserve. With that much money in play, why can’t PMI enroll more consumers of PMI’s standards and certifications to see value in becoming PMI members?

Perhaps it is because too much power and too much value have become much too centralized. If that is true, and if creating standards that work which people truly use is essential to PMI’s purpose, let’s consider decentralizing the creation of standards and decentralizing the assessment of organizations who have adopted those standards. If it’s essential for PMI to base certifications of individuals on what they are doing in real-life in real projects and to base certifications on whether what they are doing is working (which I think we can all agree is essential), how can PMI make that happen? My answer to that question is: make the whole thing a game.


  1. Self-organizing to create industry standards for any process.
  2. Decentralized assessments of standards adoption, with credentialing or certifications as a byproduct of assessments.
  3. Recursion: automatic feedback on efficacy of standards to update standards, i.e. learning what is and isn’t being adopted or what does and doesn’t work.
  4. Gamification of these things, so you get points, especially for developing standards that others adopt and that are proven to work.
  5. Earlier users get residual points from subsequent users.
  6. Creation of a utility token that promises first access to the data created from all these
  7. The ability to exchange points for tokens.


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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). Alexander and the Indian King: Part 7; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue XI, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/pmwj88-Dec2019-Schlichter-Alexander-and-the-Indian-King-Part7.pdf



About the Author

John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA




John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/