Interview with Lee Lambert


Creation of the PMP and some things I’ve learned

about Project Management since then

Interview with Lee Lambert

Author, Consultant, Popular Speaker
PMP Co-Founder, PMI Fellow
Columbus, OH, USA

Interviewed by Yasmina Khelifi
International Correspondent, PM World Journal
Paris, France

Introduction to the interviewee

Lee R. Lambert helped establish the original standard against which educators and practitioners in the field of Project Management are measured. In 1981 he was invited to join the team that created Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification Program. He is a Past President of the Central Ohio PMI Chapter, PMI Fellow (2009) and PMI’s Professional Development Provider of the Year (2007). Lee has authored two books and more than 30 professional article/whitepapers on project management. He is also PMI’s subject matter expert (SME) for their Earned Value Management (EVM) Practice Guide and the Project Estimating Practice Guide. Educated in Engineering Design at Utah Technical College, he is a holder of a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. As the creator of the “Stealth Learning” concept, no other speaker can contend with his uncanny technical knowledge, unique material content and refreshingly entertaining delivery. Lee takes the saying; “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt” to the next level as he continues to “make a difference” in his chosen field.



Q1:     First of all, thank you for accepting an interview request from PMWJ. You helped create PMI’s PMP certification. Could you tell us how that happened?

Lee Lambert (Lambert):    I started my career in project management in Salt Lake City as an engineering designer for Chicago Bridge & Iron Company.  It was 1966, only three years before the PMI was founded.  Little did I know what a substantial role PMI would play in my career and my family.  In 1967 I relocated to Livermore, California to work for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) managing engineering design projects to be used at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) for testing of nuclear weapons (testing of nuclear weapons was halted in the United States in September of 1992).  This was my first opportunity (at 20 years old) to travel to Nevada to oversee the installation of the testing device I had designed.  It was a life changing experience.

Later, in 1973, after 5 years working on the Clinch River Breeder Reactor for General Electric (GE) as an engineering designer, I was given an opportunity to become the lead GE trainer for the implantation of an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) on their portion of the contract.  There were 300 engineers that needed training and I found great pleasure in providing them this view of the value of project management. A political change (election of Jimmy Carter as President) that spelled the end of the Breeder Reactor development resulted in my relocating my family to Richland, Washington to establish a PMO for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

This job change occurred in 1978 and it was then that I was made aware of the PMI.  It was a natural for me to join this association.  I had fallen in love with project management and was earning a reputation as a “git r dun” kind of guy.  My first PMO was a rousing success and kept me busy until 1981, when I was invited to move to Columbus, Ohio to establish a new division—the Project Management Division would provide project management expertise to large government projects.  It was at this time my General Manager received a request from PMI to allow me to be one of the founding principals for the PMP Credential.  My management felt like it was a good opportunity for me and for the new division to be visible in this effort.  And, so the PMP story begins.

I wish I could say the PMP was my idea but it wasn’t. It was the idea of the brain trust of PMI, but I was among the initial five founders and was very active in its formulation and implementation in 1984.   As I recall, the primary reason for creating the PMP certification had more to do with stimulating PMI membership than it did about a professional certification.  In 1980-81 PMI had seen membership flatten and the leaders were concerned that they needed to do something to spark renewed interest in the organization.  After several interviews with other professional associations (ASCE, AICP, and NSPE) it was clear that a professional certification program increased membership in these organizations.

Q2:     And then, how was the team of the founders organized? How did it evolve?


To read entire interview, click here

How to cite this interview: Khelifi, Y. (2021). Creation of the PMP and some things I’ve learned about Project Management since then: Interview with Lee Lambert, PMI Fellow; PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue II, February. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/pmwj114-Feb2022-Khelifi-Interview-with-Lee-Lambert-3.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yasmina Khelifi

Paris, France


Yasmina Khelifi, PMP, PMI- ACP, PMI-PBA is an experienced project manager in the telecom industry. Along with her 20-year career at Orange S.A. (the large French multinational telecommunications corporation), she sharpened her global leadership skills, delivering projects with major manufacturers and SIM makers. Yasmina strives for building collaborative bridges between people to make international projects successful. She relies on three pillars: project management skills, the languages she speaks, and a passion for sharing knowledge.

She is a PMP certification holder since 2013, a PMI- ACP and PMI-PBA certification holder since 2020. She is an active volunteer member at PMI France and PMI UAE, and a member of PMI Germany Chapter. French-native, she can speak German, English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and she is learning Arabic. Yasmina loves sharing her knowledge and experiences at work, in her volunteers’ activities at PMI, and in projectmanagement.com as a regular blogger. She is also the host and co-founder of the podcast Global Leaders Talk with Yasmina Khelifi to help people in becoming better international leaders.

Yasmina can be contacted at https://yasminakhelifi.com/ or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yasminakhelifi-pmp-telecom/

Visit her correspondent profile at https://pmworldlibrary.net/yasmina-khelifi/