IPMA International Project Management Association
17 October 2016 / 3:50

Formally recognise the profession of project management, and dedicate certified project management resources to deliver their commitments – A call from Sydney

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is a federation of 66 member nations, who collaborate to promote the recognition of project management and engage stakeholders around the world in advancing the discipline.

IPMA’s Council of Delegates has met at a time of significant change and uncertainty in the global business and political landscape. The meeting in Sydney, Australia, reaffirmed the critical role that project management plays in the delivery of sustainable social and economic outcomes in organisations and countries of all levels of development across the globe. This was demonstrated by the increased reliance on project management capability as a means to improve delivery and reduce risk.

Research indicates that projects in developed countries contribute in excess of 30% of national GDP, and that 80% of “high-performing” projects are led by a certified project manager yet globally we are still plagued with high project failure rates and billions of dollars of unrealised investment return. For the first time from Sydney, the member nations issue a call to action for government and industry around the world to explicitly pledge advocacy and support of the project management profession. We are calling on all nations to formally recognise the profession of project management, and dedicate certified project management resources to deliver their commitments to their shareholders and stakeholders.

IPMA President Reinhard Wagner confirmed IPMA’s stance saying “IPMA is like the United Nations of project management, and our member associations create wealth for their nations. It will only be through harmonising our practices and approaches that the power of the project management discipline will force a collective global shift and we will see tangible improvement in productivity, innovation and competitiveness.“

This communique has been released concurrently by all 66 member associations of IPMA.


  • And exactly where is the PROOF that project management is a “profession”?

    How do you build a “profession” around a process or series of processes, especially when the “processes of project management” are already embedded in every existing profession, trade and even into our day to day personal lives……

    Sorry folks but this is nothing more than wishful thinking at best and a grand delusion or denial at worst….

    Under the US government’s Federal Trade Commission Act (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/advertising-faqs-guide-small-business )advertising must meet three tests:
    Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
    Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
    Advertisements cannot be unfair.

    So where is the PROOF to back up these advertising clams that project management is a profession?

    Think about it folks…….

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

  • José S. Morales, MBA, MSPM, PMP says:

    As per Merriam-Webster dictionary profession a type of job that requires special education, training, or skill.

    Project management requieres special education, training and skill, therefore is a profession. Almost all professional certifications in project management also require adherence to a code of ethics (like Medicine, Law or any other profession).

    I fully support PMA President Reinhard Wagner in our claim. Project Management should be recognized as a profession, it´s about time.

  • Ivano Di Filippo says:

    Dear Dr. Giammalvo,
    I can see what you mean and in Italy, the country where I live, a work group (GdL) have been leading a study to get, by a national law, the ratification of project management profession, and in a number of other parts in the world they have been doing the same.

    Meanwhile we have been expecting the ‘prof’ as you named we certainly have a project management certification chance by PM institutes like IPMA, PMI, asapm, APM (also if they are extensions of IPMA they surely maintain their specific personality), and also references by ISO (21500 has became officially accepted here in Italy). IPMA in this context is known and recognized worldwide, and studies I conducted confirmed me that it is also in the forefront in determining the importance of competences that every project manager should have. Look for this purpose the ‘Eye of competence’.

    We might want to expect the ‘prof’ or meanwhile we might want to continue optimizing our profession by ‘alone’ at least at the moment.
    Also by in virtue of the fact that when they will form ‘official’ working groups in order to ratify the professional role of the PM surely they will need those arguments we already have applied on ‘war ground’ as acquired and recognized knowledge.

    I’ve read about you: ‘I am also passionate about the necessity to move from relying on knowledge based credentials (i.e. PMP et al) to competency based credentialing’, and this is exactly what we meanwhile in researching field are doing, moving on enhancing competences.

    Hope I was able to convey my thought.

    Nice weekend to you all.

  • Dear Dr. PDG,
    thanks for responding to our blogpost. I wished your tone would be more respectful (professional?). However, I try to answer to your questions: What is your definition of “profession”? In general, I´d define it as “occupation that one ‘professes’ to be skilled in”. But there are many other definitions world-wide, some are narrow, some are wider, it may also depend on the cultural context. PM is increasingly an occupation for many people, in Germany the percentage of GDP created through projects amounts to more than 1/3, thousands of PMs are earning their living through this job. One of the major companies in Germany employs more than 7.000 PMs, all of them is offered a special career path. APM, the IPMA member in the UK was last week granted the Chartered Status. This is a strong signal towards the recognition of PM as profession. More than 300.000 people worldwide achieved a certificate in PM through IPMA´s 4-Level-Certification System. They aspire to be recognised through the certificate as professionals and be more professional in the way they manage projects. And PM is NOT a set of processes. That may be the view of other Institutes in this world, but definitely not ours. Project management is leadership demonstrated in the field of projects. It requires competences, competences outlined in IPMA´s Standards, especially the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline. Other national and international standards define PM Governance, Management-Systems, Rules and Regulations. In my country the DIN-Standards set the level of expectation of the profession, all organisations following them could be made liable in case thy do not meet those standards. Laws (in some countries) mention PM, and Governments establish special agencies for project management (e.g. UK Infrastructure and Major Projects Authority). In Russia, the Ministry of Economy and Trade requires from 2017 on all state owned companies to self-assess their PM capabilities (individual and organisational) against set standards. And so on and so forth. You may have a different view (which we respect), but you should respect our views. IPMA represents national PM Associations in 66 countries. All members in Sydney adopted the text of this communiqué. Do you want to disregard their views? We are open to discuss this with you in person, but not via a lengthy thread of postings as this format does not enable a “real” dialogue. You may contact me via email, which you can find on the IPMA Website. Best regards Reinhard Wagner

  • Emmanuel Boiteto says:

    If you require Professional Indemnity Insurance to perform in a capacity of a project manager, which is the case in a lot of places, then surely project management must be a profession.

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.