The PE Model

PEB_ImageDemonstrating project excellence

Excellent projects must demonstrate excellent performance in all project management aspects, including the management of people, purpose, processes, resources and results. Results are only credited insofar as they are a consequence of leadership and management processes.

Excellent projects apply the approaches and methods of project management in professional and innovative ways, reflecting on their own approach, methodologies and results in order to learn from them, and taking actions for improvement when necessary.

The concept of project excellence promotes the use of research, experiments and other means in order to bring innovation to the way a project is managed. However, the main focus is on the successful management of the actual project and the results thereof.

The IPMA Project Excellence Model

All projects participating in the IPMA Project Excellence Award are assessed for their excellence using the standardised approach based on the IPMA Project Excellence Model (IPMA PEM), an integral part of the IPMA Project Excellence Baseline® (IPMA PEB) global standard.


The main purpose of the IPMA PEM is to provide guidance on assessing excellent project and programme manage- ment. As the model is based on TQM and related models (e.g. EFQM), organisations that have already dealt with these concepts can easily apply and use the IPMA PEM.

The PEM can be used regardless of the project manage- ment approach applied for the project. The main reason for this is that the PEM does not enforce any particular approach to project decomposition, organisation or planning. It also does not suggest any particular project management tools or techniques. The main focus is on the conscious use of the most effective management ap- proaches and methods that lead to (more than) expected results and enable continuous improvement. It is designed to drive continuous improvement efforts regardless of the starting conditions of the project and the outcomes achieved.

The model is divided into the following three areas:

  • People & Purpose – This area is considered to be the foundation of project excellence. The right people, led and supported by excellent leaders, all sharing a common vision for success, are crucial to drive project improvements and help the project to go beyond the established standards.
  • Processes & Resources – This area represents practices necessary to reinforce excellence through sound processes and adequate resources used in an efficient and sustainable way. It also serves as a basis for securing the outcome of innovation, turning it into a solid starting point for another wave of improvements.
  • Project Results – The project management approach can only be excellent if it leads to outstanding, sustainable results for all key stakeholders. This area complements the first two with necessary proof of excellent results as defined by the project stakeholders.

The assessment criteria

IPMA Project Excellence Model provides detailed assessment criteria in each of the areas described above. Each of the criteria comes with a detailed set of benchmark practices that were observed in excellent projects worldwide.  

aw_PEB_Graph_11The People & Purpose area is divided into three main criteria and nine sub-criteria:

  • A.1. Leadership & Values
    • A.1a. Role models for excellence
    • A.1b. Care for project stakeholders
    • A.1c. Orientation towards project objectives and adaptability to change
  • A.2. Objectives & Strategy
    • A.2a. Managing stakeholders’ needs, expectations and requirements
    • A.2b. Development and realisation of project objectives
    • A.2c. Development and realisation of project strategy
  • A.3. Project Team, Partners & Suppliers
    • A.3a. Identification and development of competences
    • A.3b. Recognition of achievements and empowerment
    • A.3c. Collaboration and communication

The Processes & Resources area is divided into two criteria:

  • B.1. Project Management Processes & Resources
  • B.2. Management of Other Key Processes & Resources

The Project Results area is divided into four criteria and nine sub-criteria:

  • C.1. Customer Satisfaction
    • C.1a. Customer perception
    • C.1b. Indicators of customer satisfaction
  • C.2. Project Team Satisfaction
    • C.2a. Perception of the project team
    • C.2b. Indicators of project team satisfaction
  • C.3. Other Stakeholder Satisfaction
    • C.3a. Perception of the other stakeholders
    • C.3b. Indicators of other stakeholders’ satisfaction
  • C.4. Project Results and Impact on the Environment
    • C.4a. Realisation of results as defined in project objectives
    • C.4b. Realisation of results beyond project objectives, including impact on environment
    • C.4c. Project performance

Detailed descriptions of all of the criteria can be found in the IPMA Project Excellence Baseline® global standard. The standard is available on the IPMA products website: