What is the Project Management Institute?

The Project Management Institute, or PMI, is one of the largest professional organizations in the world. Founded in 1969 in response to the increasing demand for skilled project managers, the PMI has grown to become a leading force in the field, and no business whose operations require project management can truly thrive without its services. Below we summarize the various activities that the PMI undertakes, including setting standards, providing training, performing research, and providing networking opportunities.

Basic Facts

The PMI claims over half a million members in more than 180 different countries. It consists of about 250 regional chapters, as well as 30 “communities of practice,” in which project management specialists from specific fields can come together. Fields with PMI communities of practice include retail, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and government, to name a few.

Setting Global Standards

The PMI has set 12 international standards for both project management and project portfolio management. These standards have been recognized by the American National Standards Institute. It has also printed over three million copies of its Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (or PMBOK Guide).

Education and Training

One of the PMI’s chief activities is providing educational services that allow project managers to develop and improve upon necessary skills. There are about 1400 Registered Education Providers, located in over 70 countries, for this purpose. In addition, the PMI regularly holds SeminarsWorld events, 2-4 day courses where attendees can receive training or continuing education credits.

Through the PMI, project managers can study and receive the following certifications, each of which is awarded through a combination of training and a computer-based multiple-choice examination:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

The holder of a certificate from the PMI is likely to make a higher salary than a similar manager who does not have certification.


PMI’s Research Program has spent $16 million on research since its founding in 1997. PMI researchers work to expand the frontiers of our understanding of project management topics, and to communicate their findings to the wider world through research conferences, publication in academic journals, and educational programs such as those discussed above. The PMI also publishes its own journal, entitled Project Management Journal.


Last but not least, the PMI offers an excellent avenue for expanding members’ business connections through its many seminars and conferences. The relationships built through the PMI can have an important impact on a project manager’s career.