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A Guide to Microsoft Project Certification

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Learn about Microsoft’s Enterprise project Management (EPM) offerings and their related certifications. In this article, author Bud Ratliff, PMP, will provide you with an overview of Microsoft’s Project offerings, and then familiarize you with the exams and certifications available for each.

If you are someone who uses Microsoft Project or Microsoft Project Server, you know that Project is one of the more difficult Office products to learn on your own. Like a Swiss army knife, many components exist to help with a range of conditions. Certification is a great way to better understand and take advantage of the all the product’s features, including managing schedules, resources, costs, and collaborating on projects from small to large. Demonstrating that you have documented expertise in this product to your existing or potential employers doesn’t hurt either.

Below, we will take a look at Microsoft’s Project offerings, as well as the exams and certifications available for each.

Enterprise Project Management Solution

Microsoft offers a complete Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution that consists of more than just your standard Microsoft Project desktop client. This solution consists of these three components:

  • Microsoft Project is a desktop client that enables scheduling, cost, and resource management for individual projects. There are two versions, Standard and Professional; there is some additional functionality in the Professional version (especially in 2010), the most significant being that the Standard version will not work with Project Server.
  • Microsoft Project Server allows the aggregation of different project plans, along with collaboration, offered through Microsoft SharePoint technologies. Where 2003 and 2007 could use either Windows SharePoint Services or the more full-featured Microsoft SharePoint Server, 2010 requires the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Enterprise Edition platform, along with all of its rich reporting, collaboration, and search functionality.
  • Project Portfolio Server provides the ability to capture, define, and select new projects by analyzing them based on the organization’s strategic objectives, resource capacity, and financial constraints. With 2010, Portfolio Server is no longer separate but rather is completely integrated into Microsoft Project Server as a single product.

Microsoft’s EPM solution has matured remarkably over the past three releases, from a loose confederation of products in 2003, through a rebuild of the products in 2007, into the robust and sleek 2010 solution that completely integrated the Project Server and Project Portfolio products into a single product that competes well against almost any other EPM solution.

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