IPMA International Project Management Association
27 May 2020 / 12:00

IPMA Continuing Professional Development (CPD): On Your Way to Becoming a Project Professional

What is a profession?

A profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards. They are accepted by the public as possessing special competencies in a widely recognized body of knowledge derived from research, education and training at a high level. They are ready to apply these competencies in the interest of others (adapted from The Australian Council of Professions, 2003).


What is a professional?
Being a member of a Profession, that is a ‘Professional‘, we generally see as an indicator of integrity, ethics, trust and expertise. Therefore, professional qualifications are a requirement to operate in professions like law, medicine, construction, accountancy etc. While you do not need to hold an HR qualification to work in HR, for making a career it is strongly encouraged that you obtain qualifications and demonstrate commitment. It is inherent in the definition of a Profession that a code of ethics governs the activities of each Profession. Such codes require behaviour and practice beyond the personal. They also require moral obligations of an individual and demand high standards of behaviour in respect to both the services provided to the public and in dealing with professional colleagues.

What is a project professional?

A project professional is a member of project management community that is perceived as someone of integrity, ethics, trust and competence in delivering project results. The person also obtains project management qualifications and performs in accordance with the well-established codes of conduct and code of ethics (e.g. IPMA Code of Ethics) by global project management associations. Finally, a project professional continuously updates knowledge, skills and abilities in project management in order to maintain the expected level of performance and serve as an indicator of integrity, ethics, trust and expertise in project management.

So what is CPD?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their competencies. It enables you to learn to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. It does not mean you were not a professional before you started your CPD journey, but rather that you continuously sustain it. CPD combines different approaches to learning, such as training workshops, conferences (e.g. IPMA World Congress ) and events, e-learning programs, best practice techniques and ideas sharing (e.g. IPMA SIGs) all focused on the individual to improve and have effective professional development.

Why is CPD important and why does it matter?
The ongoing or CPD involved in projects is crucial for your personal growth, but also for the organizational growth of the companies you work for. CPDs are now well known and an essential part of practice internationally. IPMA accredits its local Members Association (IPMA Registration & Training System) to register education and training courses and programmes in project, programme and portfolio management.

Why it matters to you?
In IPMA we are often asked to describe the importance of CPD. You’ve obtained your degree and now want to work in projects? Your new job is all lined up and ready to go? The first part of your mission is accomplished. However, you do not need wait very long before start lagging behind your colleagues. Although this makes logic for newcomers to the project profession, the same is very true if you have spent years in the industry. CPD is important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your profession. It is an ongoing process. It circles back and continues throughout your professional’s career.

What are the benefits of IPMA CPD?

  • CPD ensures your project management competencies keep pace with the current standards in project management.
  • CPD ensures that you maintain and enhance the project management competencies you need to deliver to your customers, clients and the community.
  • CPD ensures that you stay relevant and up to date. You get aware of the changing trends and directions in the project profession.
  • CPD allows you to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ yourself, regardless of your occupation, age or educational level.
  • CPD helps you continue to make a meaningful contribution to your team. This assists you to move into new positions where you can lead, influence, coach and mentor others.
  • CPD can deliver a deeper understanding of what it means to be a project professional with a greater appreciation of the implications to the project profession.
  • CPD helps you to advance the body of knowledge and technology within your profession by providing good practices and knowledge sharing case studies.
  • CPD increases public confidence in us as project professionals and to the project profession as a whole.
  • CPD helps you to stay interested, but also interesting.

But can CPD be fun?
Apart from formal ways of education, you can obtain CPD by informal types of learning. It is the learning that you do day by day when faced with new problems, or new tools and techniques you adopt, whether this is done by working with colleagues, reading online, or attending conferences or specific registered/accredited training. It can be also by watching a movie or a TV show! In fact, often you will not even realize that you are ‘doing CPD’. However, by logging it and noting your reflections on the learning, you are better able to gain a sense of progress and direction. Thus it is important to look in the review mirror to reflect on what you have done in order to improve your competencies. So yes, it can be fun!

How can IPMA help you with CPD in Project Management?
IPMA mandates to all project professional organizations and project professionals to conduct under the IPMA Codes of Ethics. But at its core, IPMA calls out for personal responsibility to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. IPMA thus safeguards the public and strives to meet with the expectations of our customers and the requirements of the project profession. Furthermore, IPMA also promotes its network of registered CPD providers (IPMA REG) who represent the benchmarks for the project profession. IPMA registers more than 70 countries around the world to provide recognized independent CPD providers and represent the IPMA core values.

IPMA CPD Expectations for IPMA certified project professionals
IPMA CPD scheme requires certified Project Professionals to undertake CPD that meets the following criteria:

  • minimum of 35 hours annually
  • project, Program or Portfolio related
  • more than 1 activity
  • within the past 12 months
  • supported by proof
  • explained by statements on how the learning was applied

By looking into IPMA’s network of registered providers (IPMA REG),
IPMA Registered Courses and Programmes for CPD are written by Project Professional for Project Professionals.


A commitment to learning and improving is, however, generally expected of anyone in a professional capacity to become a truly world-class project professional.
The pace of change is probably faster than it has ever been. If you stand still you will get left behind, as the state of your knowledge and skills becomes outdated.
CPD thus provides quality assurance in project profession in the time to come.

Our results will lay the foundations of how we are precepted and valued as project professionals and the profession as a whole.
Please see more information about IPMA Registration at https://www.ipma.world/consultants-trainers/ipma-registration/
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Mladen Vukomanovic

Author of this post

Mladen Vukomanović is IPMA Vice President of Profession Development. Mladen is also serves as Vice President of Croatian IPMA Member Association in Croatia and University Professor and Chair of Construction Management at University of Zagreb. He possesses more than 15 years’ experience in planning, organizing, and leading and controlling large infrastructure projects. Mladen is Experienced Board Chair with a demonstrated history of working in both the for-profit and the non-for-profit organizations in project management industry. Skilled in Project Management, Construction Management and ICT systems, he holds a global credential for consultants and coaches – IPMA CCT A level.