Project, Programme and Portfolio Management Consultants (PM Consultants) are fulfilling an important role in project management practice. However, they are not accountable for the Project, Programme, Portfolio products and outcomes but, instead, they are advising project managers and organizations.
The International Project Management Association (IPMA), as a global leader of project management competence certification, delivers its products for all those who conduct their business in the project management field (project, programme and portfolio managers, PM associates as well as PM consultants).
To fulfill the certification needs of PM Consultants, IPMA has extended the Four Level Certification (4-L-C) system with a Two-Level Certification for PM Consultants.
Assessing PM Consulting Competences
This 4-L-C extension covers the project and programme management parts of the role of PM consultancies, it does not cover general consulting competences. The assumption is that all PM Consultants must have project management knowledge and experience, complemented by consultancy experience. PM Consultants must also have the ability to manage the implementation of the advice they give.
For the PM Consultant certification the following principles are used:
- One PM Consultant certification addresses providing and implementing advice at the project level; the other PM Consultant certification focuses on the strategic, organisation and programme level.
- There are 14 PM consultancy competence elements that are described in the Addition to IPMA Competence Baseline for PM Consultants (ICBC).
- The assessment rules and guidelines are described in the addition to IPMA Certification Regulations and Guidelines for PM Consultants, which is the basis for global Certification Body harmonization.
- The outcomes of this certification process reviewed during the ICB Version 4.0 project to incorporate the experience and lessons learned from Certification Boards that use the PM Consultant certification in their geographic areas.
Managed By Member Association Certification Boards
The IPMA certification system for PM Consultants, like 4-L-C system for professional project managers, is used by the network of IPMA National Certification Bodies (CBs), each operating the certification scheme in their nation. Their schemes:
- Define the competences to be assessed in the Addition to the National Competence Baseline for PM Consultants.
- Conform to a common regulatory framework described in the IPMA’s Regulations and Guidelines for PM Consultants.
The IPMA certification systems, including 4-L-C system and PM Consultant certification system, are compliant with ISO 17024 (Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons) with a few modifications that are appropriate to the area of project management. Eligibility criteria, functional areas and the responsibilities expected of PM Consultants are identified at each of the two IPMA Levels of competence:
- IPMA PMC : IPMA Certified Project Management Consultant
- IPMA PPMC : IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant
The overall certification processes include several steps: Application, self-assessment, reference check, exam, case study report, role-play workshop, interview, final evaluation and decision. Competences are evaluated by assessors, who are certified in programme and portfolio management or PM consultancy or project management and who have been trained in the relevant techniques. Recertification is required after five years and is based on evidence of the continuing involvement in PM and PM consulting as well as the competence development.
For information about the Certification of Consultants processes, or about the Member Associations offering this service, see the links at upper left.