PMP stands for Project Management Professional. It is a certification maintained by many Project Managers around the world, who have taken the Project Management Institute's (PMI) PMP exam. PMI is a not for profit organisation.
The PMI PMP exam is centered around the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBoK guide), which serves as a set of a standards for Project Management. It does not serve as a step by step guide to project management, but serves as a reference to the processes along with the inputs and outputs for projects. The current version of the PMBoK is version 4, but version 5 will be published in 2013.
The PMBoK guide breaks the project down in to 5 Process Groups and 9 Knowledge Areas , which contain all 42 processes. These processes all serve a purpose towards the end goal of the project. The idea is that each of these processes should be completed within a project, but the extent will defer on a project by project basis.
To become a PMP member of the PMI, you must sit a 4 hour exam, consisting of 200 questions. For those of you that are not very quick at maths, that is just 72 seconds per question, for four hours, with no break. I will post a further article dedicated to the exam, later this week. For the reason of the exam, it is quite a "Badge of Honor when you pass your exam. One colleague commented that "Wow, you have passed THE BIG ONE !", when I told them that I had passed.
The idea behind the PMP accreditation, is that you dedicate yourself to being a Project Management Professional. You must keep your accreditation by earning Professional Development Units, relating to Project Management, over the course of 3 years. If you do not maintain your accreditation, you must retake the PMP exam and start all over again. When you sign up for the PMP exam you must commit to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which based around the expected professionalism, honesty, integrity and behavior of all members.
The PMI have local branches on a global scale. My local branch is in the UK, but I have not joined them yet. I am only just recovering from the exam, so I will join them in the New Year. They provide seminars and discussion groups and can be a valuable asset in your Project Management career.
As a member of the PMI, you are entitled to discounts and free publications. I became a member when I decided to take the exam, as the discount I was entitled to, saved me more money than the membership cost, so it was very good value. In additional, I read two free periodical publications relating to Project Management called the PMI Network and PMI Today. Both are very good reads during my commute. There is an extensive library, some of which is free, online and you can download a copy of the latest PMBoK Guide, which will be useful next year, when the new version is published.