Hangin’ with Harrington

Oct. 27, 2008
At Last—A Project Management Certification Specifically For Professional Security Dealers

It’s an idea whose time had come—a training program designed specifically for the SECURITY project manager. Be it you, the alarm business owner, or your employee, gaining Certified Security Project Manager Certification (CSPM) can help grow your company. It is the brainchild of the Security Industry Association (SIA.) It calls for a self-study program followed by an intense five days of classroom training and a tough, two hour final exam. Since the program launched last summer, 20 people have earned their CSPM designation. (And their “keep” on higher end installations.)

Let’s face it. Security installations are getting more and more sophisticated, complex and technically tricky. Training like this is essential if traditional dealers are going to stay in the running for the higher end installs, and migrate into high level system integration. Project management is becoming more pivotal in these applications. The goal of the CSPM program is to certify individuals who have demonstrated their proficiency in every aspect of project management as it relates to security systems.

Gary Texeira, a Project Manager with Henry Bros. Electronics, Inc., earned his CSPM certification this spring. “Our industry needed this class a long time ago,” he says. “This class will help our industry mature and become a lot more professional, not to mention profitable. I strongly recommend this course to people in the industry. “

Extending beyond the content of a Project Management course, the SIA program goes into great detail on specific issues faced by those who plan and install security systems. It includes processes and tools tailored to a security project. Students, for example, learn the basics of fire and safety codes and security technology—information that would not be part of a general Project Management course or program.

According to SIA, ideal members to register for the program are those companies that offer a dealer program or work directly with high-level systems integrators. GE has been a huge supporter, SIA reports, and has offered it to its dealers a couple of times. There is a good reason for that.

As Program developer, EPC President Nadim Sawaya points out, “The CSPM training goes way beyond the training and certification process. It addresses the security integrator’s business needs. CSPM training empowers project managers to improve profitability on their jobs and, in turn, build their company’s bottom-line.” Feedback from attendees, Sawaya says, is consistently positive. “The CSPM program is designed for performance improvement, not just training.”

Applicants are required to successfully complete a 40-hour series of classroom instruction (contact hours) and 20 hours of self-study prerequisite courses. Subjects covered are ones that professional project managers must command in order to successfully manage security projects. They include:

  • Project Management Fundamentals.
  • Background for CCTV Systems and Applications.
  • Background for Access Control Systems and Applications.
  • Background for IP Systems and Applications.
  • Bidding Case Study.
  • Understanding Financial Statements.

This self-study phase of the training is designed to provide a general background of the “technical” side of managing security projects, as well as an introduction to the fundamentals of Project Management, Estimating and Finances. It also includes a security project estimating assignment to be completed prior to attending the classroom instruction.

The instructor-led classroom curriculum is taught over five days and covers:

  • Security Project Management.
  • Estimating Security Projects.
  • Contracts, Codes and Risk Management.
  • Project Financial Management.
  • Managing The Project Team.

Once the full series of coursework is completed, dealers should understand how to manage the costs, to assure the quality and to schedule projects throughout all phases of the project life cycle. They should also have gained a fundamental understanding of factors affecting their projects such as stakeholders, estimating, cost control, cash flow and risk management. And, they should be prepared to take the two hour exam that follows the classroom study to earn their certification.

SIA members are encouraged to consider hosting a private class for valuable customers or rewarding them with seats in one of the public CSPM classroom programs offered across the U.S. in 2005. This program, SIA contends, provides a great opportunity to give something of real value back to customers. SIA and EPC will provide and schedule on-site classroom training for your company at significant savings if you can guarantee a minimum of ten (10) students (maximum of 20).

A recertification portfolio and performance assessment evaluation is conducted within 18-24 months of certification to maintain the CSPM certification. The first of these sessions will be scheduled for early 2006, as candidates are not eligible to attend this session for a minimum of 18 months following the receipt of the CSPM credential.

For more information on CSPM, developed to fulfill the practical day-to-day needs of Security Project Managers and to fill the void that other professional project management certification programs do not provide, contact SIA Manager of Educational Services Holly Wells at [email protected]; call 703-683-2075; or visit www.SecurityLearningNetwork.com. There are still classes remaining in the 2005 Classroom Program Training Schedule.