Certification or Practice? A paradigm shift will help!


By Raju Rao PMP, SCPM

PMI OPM3 Certified Professional

Chennai, India


During the last few decades many professional organizations have developed worldwide in the field of project management, prominent examples being PMI, IPMA and APM. Each of these have laid emphasis on and grown differently in terms of structure, outreach and its area of focus. One area which seems to be the pre-occupation of these organizations is the focus on education and certification. There could be valid reasons why this is done not the least being that it is what the market demands. But for a professional organization to have more certifications products does not necessarily promote or enable practice! In reality, there appears to be a wide gap between the two and this is not very encouraging considering that a good and effective practice is required to ensure that projects meet their basic outcomes like scope time and cost or meeting organizational and strategic objectives .There is a dire need to investigate and analyze the reasons for the gap and possible ways to bridge it. This is the subject and focus of this paper.


Status today

Certification products are largely either knowledge or competency based with some based on methodology as mentioned below. (10)

  • IPMA – Competence based
  • PMI – Knowledge based (with a minimal ‘time served’ requirement)
  • APMG – Methodology based & does not require ‘time served’ or addresses Behavioral skills

Certification from each of above bodies and has its features, merits and demerits which can be viewed from a practice based approach.


  • Certification at levels D, C, B, A
  • Has many factors assessing practice beyond the basic knowledge based Level D certification


  • e.g. CAPM, PMP, PgMP, RMP, SP, ACP, (PfMP)
  • Predominantly … knowledge based
  • Some of the certification has some practice based features e.g. PgMP and ACP


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Author

Raju-RaoRaju Rao flag-india

Chennai, India               

Raju Rao, PMP, SCPM,PMI Certified OPM3 Professional is Founder and Principal Consultant with Xtraplus Solutions, a PM consulting and training company based in  India.  Mr. Rao has a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Madras, India; a Diploma in Management from the University of Bombay; an Advanced PM certificate from Stanford University; and a certificate from IIM Calcutta. Mr. Rao has over 30 years’ experience in engineering, process and project management and has been an active member of PMI for several years. He held leadership positions in both the 1st and 2nd edition projects of OPM3 and has been involved in development of several PMI standards.  He has presented numerous papers in global congresses and is the co-author of two books – Project Management Circa 2025 published by PMI and Organizational Project Management published by Management Concepts, USA.  He has been on Leadership Team for Awards for PMI India and President of South India section of AACE International. Raju Rao lives in Chennai, India and can be contacted at  [email protected].