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  • Writer's pictureJosh Atkinson

Building Individual and Organizational Lethality and Job Credibility through Project Management

Updated: Jun 16

1. INTRODUCTION The past 20 years have resulted in a culture within some senior Army leadership that is more focused on maintaining status quo and risk aversion resulting in a capability gap compared with our peer competitors. The U.S. Army is working to “catch up” to the adaptations of threats from peer competitors like China and Russia in order to sustain and support Multi-Domain Operations. There is a large investment in technology, resources, tools, and software, yet there is a lack of focus on innovating thought, leadership, and culture for Soldiers to affect “speed” and “tempo” at their own level. Being able to lead, plan, and adapt to the situation requires innovative training that enables decision making at the point of need, with clear vision and guidance from senior leadership. Additionally, retention and transition is driving the need to find ways to “upskill” soldier capabilities that directly lead to job opportunities. PM-ProLearn is a VA Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), and our Globally Recognized Project Management courses (Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), and Lean Six Sigma) are the "Industry Standard" and directly improve on the desired leadership skills the Army is looking for, provides additional planning tools, and enables decision making at the point of need while creating lucrative civilian job marketability.

Shared Core competencies:

 Competence.  Mutual trust.  Shared understanding.  Commander’s intent.  Mission orders.  Disciplined initiative.  Risk acceptance. 2. PROBLEM STATEMENT In the Peer Fight, individuals and organizations must be able to leverage the full capacity of thought and action while also taking advantage of emerging technologies through creative thought and employment. We need to enhance our view of PME to incorporate multi-disciplinary approaches and industry standards. We can then use these techniques to employ all the resources (technology and human) within our formations to their fullest extent while simultaneously ensuring our soldiers are better prepared for transition into the civilian world. Education is not just about degrees anymore. We must build the agile culture necessary to ensure speed and tempo of action across the battlespace, while also ensuring we set up Soldiers for success in transition.

3. BACKGROUND “In a new era of great power competition, our nation’s adversaries seek to achieve their strategic aims.” Our enemies are “fielding mutually supporting systems designed to be effective against the well-understood patterns, posture, and capabilities of the current Joint Force. Altering Joint Force operational patterns and force posture will mitigate existing capacity and capability gaps and create opportunities to exploit Chinese and Russian operational shortfalls.” -MDO

I believe our human capital remains a strength and remains unchallenged by peers. We need understand and use Army resources to enhance and exploit this overmatch and take advantage of industry "best practices" and standards.

The focus of innovation lately has been on providing advanced analytics, tools, devices, and software to enable better decision making, yet the focus on how to think differently is missing. Enabling Soldiers to have better leadership , decision-making, and planning tools that incorporate industry standards on how to deal with dynamic change, agile decision making, and risk management will greatly enhance our center of gravity. Additionally, incorporating industry certifications allows for better military/civilian coordination, and also creates job credibility for our soldiers when they approach transition.

In the dynamic battle space of today and throughout history, the most powerful weapon on the battlefield is a thinking Soldier who is empowered, equipped, and supported to take action at the point of need. Four areas of MDO that would directly benefit from Project Management Skills.

Conduct independent maneuver. Multi-domain formations conduct independent maneuver by continuing operations in a contested environment within the intent of the theater campaign. Independent maneuver alludes to formation possessing the capacity, capability, and empowered initiative to operate under the constraints of the operational environment (PMP, PMI-ACP). Maximize human potential. Employing multi-domain capabilities requires the Army to attract, train, retain, and employ leaders and Soldiers who collectively possess a significant breadth and depth of technical and professional expertise. The Army must exercise careful talent management to make the most of these high-quality personnel and integrate them into trusted teams of professionals who are able to thrive in ambiguity and chaos (PMP, PMI-ACP, Lean six sigma). Cross-domain synergy. The principle of cross-domain synergy is an evolution of combined arms maneuver. The combination of complementary effects complicates an enemy’s ability to act, producing an overall effect greater than the sum of the individual parts. Synergy optimizes capabilities from across all domains, the CEMA, and the information environment to achieve the maximum effect from the available resources. A missing link is cross domain with our industry partners and enabling Soldiers to communicate using known processes, terms, and structures that the industry thrives on. (PMP, PMI-ACP, Lean Six) Mission command. Mission command remains an essential element of Army operations on a contested battlefield against a near-peer enemy. Since the enemy will disrupt friendly communications and plans, mission command must expand to enable initiative and dynamic cooperation across Service and other partner lines—at some risk—to allow the Joint Force to preserve the ability to continuously and rapidly integrate multi-domain capabilities despite disrupted communications. (PMP, PMI-ACP) Military planning processes and formal learning are focused on a kinetic environment at senior levels and lack the processes to go from “issue the order” through final mission closeout. The inherent processes are constrained in nature and not dynamic to allow for change while also tracking “work in progress” relative to specific LOEs and missions. In the peer fight, the U.S. Army needs to enable leaders at lower ranks to think and decide on their own, while building the foundation of common terms, culture, and processes to integrate within the overall system.

If the most powerful weapon on the battlespace is a thinking soldier and his/her weapon, how do we build lethality of thought, and leadership? It starts with an empowered mind that is provided the tools, culture, and processes to change the way people work until the mission is successful. 4. THE PM-PROLEARN SOLUTION (Voluntary PME through CA funding) A voluntary, CA Funded, developmental continuum starting at E4/O2/WO1 flowing through each consecutive rank that allows soldiers to obtain industry certifications aligned with rank based roles and responsibilities across every MOS. Following our rank progression model provides leadership skills early in ones career to optimize the applicability and return to the Army, while also establishing job credibility for first term soldiers.

Organizational Model: We know that training and learning are continuous and not only isolated to formal learning centers and specific dates and times in one’s career. Our demand based project management training can be encouraged and offered as PME. We schedule based on projected demand and all classes are open to anyone who wants to attend. email to learn more.

PME/Formal Learning center model: Another bold idea would be to offer our courses as an evening elective at Formal Learning Centers like ALC, SLC, ILE, WOCC, CCC, CGSC, SGM-A etc. Our courses fun 4 hours per night, two nights per week, or can be self paced (PMI-ACP, Lean Six Sigma). We can also schedule courses between class cycles. Universities have partnerships with FLC's and we want to establish similar relationships to allow soldiers the option to pursue industry certifications that align with the necessary skills to be successful in their MOS. (Proponent supported/sponsored CA funded certifications)

The peer competitive fight has proven that the U.S. is behind in how we approach innovative thought and our ability to recruit, retain, and develop the highest talent is key.

The specific features and benefits of taking Project Management training and certification and how it applies to the U.S. Army can be found in Table 1. Table1: Features and Benefits of Project Management

What makes our solution unique: · A training program that combines instructor-led sessions, practical exercise, self- study, instructor help desk, and yearlong unlimited access to guide Soldiers through the training until they achieve their goals. · Customizable delivery scheduled in and around unit requirements and formal courses based on demand and operational fluidity to allow organizational leaders to decide what times work best. (Location, delivery format (in person, live virtual, self paced), daytime, afternoons, evening etc) · Year-long, all-inclusive program that offers adaptability, flexibility, and ongoing support to ensure that Soldiers have the resources they need, when and how they need them.

· No Risk Structure. Since we include the exam fees with our training, this removes the obligation and risk if a soldier were to fail. In fact, we cover the retest costs as well. We want soldiers to have the opportunity to grow with our a risk of ArmyCA funds payback. These certifications are earned and not given, and we wanted to protect the soldier in their pursuit.


A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve a unique product, service or result (A Mission). Civilian project management processes, methodologies and culture, directly enhance and expand upon military planning processes. Civilian project teams and leaders must also understand how to integrate soft skills, leadership, conflict resolution, coaching and mentorship, all the while, allowing for bias for action and accountability.

This is the integration of industry standards to enhance and augment military planning while also creating job recognition and credibility in and out of uniform.

6. RANK PROGRESSION (understanding each cert)

As we have analyzed the skill sets obtained through each certification, as well as, the required experience, and the applicability to various jobs and ranks in the military we have developed a continuum or progression model outlined in the image above.

As you move left to right the skills learned in each cert build and are still applicable at higher ranks. It is recommended to start pursuing each cert at the ranks indicated with the exception of ACP for officers. Due to the experience requirements its not recommended for a 2ndLt.


Our scheduling process is demand driven and our training can be delivered anywhere in the world.

How our global demand-based scheduling process works

1) We assess potential demand for a course based on student feedback. (8 for virtual and 12 for in person)

2) We assess the best delivery format to meet student requirements (Daytime or evenings, live virtual or in person)

3) We confirm with our operations department that we can support the time zone and format and build it.

4) We build a flier that can be shared on social media or via email to allow students to enroll on their own.

Email if you have any questions or want to see what we have available for you.

***None of our courses are command directed, or specific to an individual unit and are open to anyone who wants to attend.

Soldiers can join classes already scheduled on our calendar here:

Once your find a class request an invoice here:

We reach out to each Soldier with our step-by-step guide to walk them through the ArmyCA funding process.

Understanding how to use ARMY CA Funding:

Once Funded, soldiers can choose any class on our calendar, and after the initial course can re-attend as many times as they desire (individual class capacity dependent).

Timelines: ArmyCA Funding takes at least 60 days to process so it is best to begin coordination about 90-120 days out so we can confirm schedules and delivery format in order to allow soldiers to submit funding 60 days prior.

Email for details.


Our training is structured so that a Soldier is “complete” once they finish our initial classes. (5-days for PMP, 5-days for Lean six sigma Green Belt, and 3-days for ACP). At the completion of the course we will upload the certificate into the ArmyIgnitED system to close out the funding request.

We still include the exam costs and failure re-test with our training, but this is not tied to the funding. Soldiers are not obligated to test, and if in the low chance they fail the first time, we build a study plan for them and pay for the second attempt. Regardless of how they do on the exam, the Army will NEVER recoup the funds, so long as they initial course is completed.

As part of our program, Soldiers have access for one year to:

· Reattend any live class

· Learning Management System (LMS) access with guides, videos, quizzes, and exams

· Application assistance

· Instructor help desk to get one on one coaching

· Exam fees

· Failure retest fees

Provided a Soldier completes the initial class, at no point should they ever have to pay back ArmyIgnitED.


Many training companies (especially colleges and universities) are charging $3999.00 for soldiers to attend each one of these courses. Our pricing is set to allow two certs per FY.

Individual Course Costs (per person):

PMI-ACP: $ 1,699.00

Lean six sigma Green Belt: $ 1,899.00

PMP: $ 2,099.00

Please do your research. We have. If you want to see a side by side comparison of other training companies we can provide it for you. We built our company as a means to serve and help our military members 3-5 years before transition, so they can all be set up for success earlier.


With an eye towards transition, it is beneficial for one to research how many jobs are looking for certifications or key topics. As we have done our research using LinkedIn jobs, we found there are over 1.2 Million jobs looking for this same capability set. Industry cares as much about tempo, velocity, quality, and mission accomplishment as the military does. Their life depends on it too.

11. Conclusion

Project Management directly improves on known military decision-making processes (MDMP) while providing a structural framework that enables leaders to track and visualize work in progress (LOEs), empower decision making to the lowest possible rank (mission command), and incorporate the opinion and feedback of the multiple stakeholders and organizations inside and outside the DoD (Cross Domain Ops). Our training teaches leaders how to clearly articulate their vision (requirements) and understand how to serve their teams through resourcing and empowerment. Our program allows commanders to empower Soldiers in their own growth through coordinated voluntary learning programs leveraging ArmyIgnitED credential assistance (ArmyCA) funding.

All the while making our soldiers extremely marketable when transition comes.

I'd love to continue the conversation.


Josh Atkinson, PMP, DML, LSSGB, Prosci Change Manager

USMC Veteran.

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