Project Management Certifications Compared – A Preliminary Comparative Guest post by Dr. Paul Giammalvo. INTRODUCTION Ever wonder what professional levels are available for program/project managers, and how they compare to one another? This topic emerged from a heated discussion on Linked In about Project Management. The original topic was “PMP: Does it guarantee you a job?” [1] The debate quickly veered off topic and focused on the relative merits of each credential. It became apparent that everyone believes (or at least would like) that the credential they hold is the most valid and appropriate way to measure project management knowledge, skills, and competency. However, a quick review of the published literature revealed little to no peer-reviewed research on the topic to offer any guidance or insight. One problem with any comparison is that while most major professional organizations offer multiple levels, it is difficult to tell what each credential represents. (i.e. Does the Project Management Professional (PMP), from PMI, really mean that the holder of the PMI Project Management Professional (PMP), means that the holder has been a professional project manager? What is a Certified Cost Engineer? How does this relate to program or project management? This was the driving force behind the exploratory research effort. Please be aware. This experiment is not intended to be a final piece of research. The calculations are based on many assumptions that may or may not hold true. 1) To determine if it was possible to create a meaningful ratio scale against the information available on the internet to rank order and compare the relative standings for the various credentials; and 2) to generate enough interest and debate for others in order to move this research forward in an academically sound and more rigorous manner. This should be seen as a challenge and a trigger for all practitioners, the professional organizations that claim to represent them, and the companies and agencies that employ or contract the services of credential holders, to support the creation an independent testing and validation organization (such the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards – GAPPS[2]). who can maintain and create an evaluation standard. A?Consumer Reports’? or ?Underwriters Laboratory? Various credentials and certifications related to project/program management. SELECTING THE CREDENTIALS FOR COMPARISON The first step was to identify all credentials that are globally recognized and are promoted or positioned as attesting knowledge, skills or competencies in project, portfolio, or program management. These organizations were chosen because they are widely recognized worldwide. (in alphabetical ordering)

  • American Society for the Advancement of Project Management, as an IPMA member
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International
  • Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), also a member of IPMA
  • International Council of Systems Engineers
  • Project Management Institute (PMI).

Although this list is not exhaustive nor was it intended to, it was considered to represent the most widely recognized credentials in the field project/program management. The International Project Management Association (IPMA), an umbrella organization that includes organizations from different countries, recognizes the credentials of the Australian Institute of Project Management.