See This Article: Comparing PM Certifications

Which project and programme management certifications are best for you? Learn how the Certification Effectiveness Cube helps you make better-informed decisions. This analysis is based on a range of three independent studies and reports. We offer a fresh new analysis to help balance misinformed impressions seen elsewhere on the web. Written by Stacy Goff, principal of ProjectExperts, a global project and programme management consulting firm, the article is available from the Thought Leaders page, in the IPMA Resources section of this website. Or, here is a direct link to the article: Comparing PM Certifications. Below are a few of the highlights from the article. nw-2013-eff-cube-lgThe Certification Effectiveness Cube is a representation of three factors that are important in evaluating any certification: A. Prerequisites B. Breadth of Coverage C. Rigor of Assessment The article explores those three factors, or criteria, and acknowledges that popularity is also an important consideration; it reveals an interesting relationship between popularity and effectiveness. A. Prerequisites are important. They help assure that a certification is targeted at the right qualified persons. See below a comparison of a selection of PM-related certification program prerequisites, based on a study by Dr. Paul Giammalvo. Certification Prerequisites B. The second factor considered in the article is the Breadth of Coverage. See the diagram below, comparing the coverage of a variety of project management standards, based on a GAPPS study. As other organizations have come to understand that the “triple constraint” has been long-dead, and that business savvy and leadership & interpersonal skills have some of the greatest impact on project success, just look at the chart. When someone asks you “Are you ready?” The chart shows Who Is Ready Now! Certification Breadth C. And the Rigor of Assessment is the third factor, or criterion, considered in the article. This factor is also based on a GAPPS study, and includes degree programs and other comparisons. Why is this Rigor important? Because knowledge alone, while an important foundation, is merely a starting point. And if it is only acquired for the purposes of passing a multiple-choice exam, it soon decays–the half-life of knowledge acquired, but not-applied is said to be two weeks. That knowledge must be applied (moving towards Skill), added to the interpersonal skills needed to engage others in its application (Behavioral competences), and adapted in multiple settings (practical experience) to get needed business results. Certifications with higher Rigor scores assess more of the full life-cycle of that knowledge, from short-term acquisition to business results. Certification Rigor

Which Certifications Win?

There are several ways of answering this question, depending on your requirements. What is most interesting about analyzing the outcomes of these three independent studies is what happens when we cross-multiply the three studies’ results. Chart 4 below shows the results of cross-multiplying the volume of the Certification Effectiveness Cube. But your requirements may show a different result. We leave the decision up to you. Regardless of your outcome, you are the winner when PPM certification candidates—and their managers and executives—can see the relative strengths of today’s leading PPM certifications. And, when you win, the practice of effective project and programme management wins. nw-summarychart After all, that is the basis of our Certification Effectiveness Cube: We are looking for not a single point of evaluation (a typical situation on other websites), or even two points of evaluation: We are looking for all three points, to assess the volume of certification effectiveness. See the full article, Comparing PM Certifications, for the “The Cube’s” descriptions of the PM certification effectiveness factors of popular global offerings. The article also has more details and links for each of the studies, so you can draw your own conclusions.


Note: In addition to his Project and Programme Management consulting practice, Goff is also past IPMA VP of Marketing & Events, 2011-2014, and former President of IPMA-USA. All trademarks are the property of their registered owners.