Project Management Certification Benchmarking Research: 2015 Update


Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCP, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m

Jakarta, Indonesia


Since 2010, the author has been publishing an annual report, benchmarking many of the more popular, globally recognized project management certifications against both the US Professional Engineer (PE) license as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” rule. As over 20,000 copies of the report and the Excel template have been downloaded speaks to the importance of this benchmarking research as the question of “transportability” and “reciprocal recognition” of these credentials is the source of frequent debates.

Some of the key findings from previous year’s research shows that at least in the field of project management, Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” is too low, with 15,000 hours “level of effort” being closer to what it actually takes to produce a “competent” professional level practitioner. Another important finding is that the world’s two most popular certifications, PMI’s PMP and Axelos PRINCE2 do NOT qualify as professional level credentials even using the rather low “10,000 hours” advocated by Gladwell. A more positive trend seems to be emerging and that is as more professional societies add certifications, we are moving away from exam only certifications (i.e. PMI’S PMP and Axelos PRINCE2) and nearly all of the newer credentials involve both exams and peer assessments of competency. (i.e. PM’s PgMP and PfMP. Green Project Management organization, AcostE and Guild of Project Controls) This is positive in so far as it says the practice of applied project management seems to be maturing in line with other “professions”. The other trend which seems to be evolving is based on the fact that the US “Professional Engineer” (PE) license is going to require a Master’s degree starting in 2020, many of the higher end, competency based professional credentials (i.e. Green Project Management and Guild of Project Controls) are starting to recognize the value of advanced degrees as being the mark of today’s “professional level” practitioner and are building recognition for having earned them into the credentialing process.

For those who are not familiar with the evolution of this model, the benchmarking is based on the “level of effort” it takes to qualify for, prepare for and become certified, the underlying philosophy being the more robust the process, and the more it looks beyond the ability to pass multiple choice exams, the more likely it is to validate that the person holding the credential is “competent”.

Essentially, the scoring model upon which this benchmarking is based looks at 12 different components which when added together, yields an overall “level of effort” score:


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: footnotes and references are included in full paper.

About the Author

PAUL-GIAMMALVO-bioDr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-Mflag-usa-indonesiaflag-italy

Jakarta, Indonesia

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m is Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. www.build-project-management-competency.com.

For 20+ years, he has been providing Project Management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He is also active in the Global Project Management Community, serving as an Advocate for and on behalf of the global practitioner. He does so by playing an active professional role in the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACE); Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the Construction Management Association of America, (CMAA). He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (asapm) http://www.asapm.org/ and is on the Certification Board of the Green Project Management Institute. http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/ He is active as a regional leader in the International Guild of Project Controls. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild

He has spent 18 of the last 35 years working on large, highly technical international projects, including such prestigious projects as the Alyeska Pipeline and the Distant Early Warning Site (DEW Line) upgrades in Alaska. Most recently, he worked as a Senior Project Cost and Scheduling Consultant for Caltex Minas Field in Sumatra and Project Manager for the Taman Rasuna Apartment Complex for Bakrie Brothers in Jakarta. His current client list includes AT&T, Ericsson, Nokia, Lucent, General Motors, Siemens, Chevron, Conoco-Philips, BP, Dames and Moore, SNC Lavalin, Freeport McMoran, Petronas, Pertamina, UN Projects Office, World Bank Institute and many other multi-national companies and NGO organizations.

Dr. Giammalvo holds an undergraduate degree in Construction Management, a Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and a PhD in Project and Program Management through the Institute Superieur De Gestion Industrielle (ISGI) and Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Lille (ESC-Lille- now SKEMA School of Management) under the supervision of Dr. Christophe Bredillet, CCE, IPMA A Level. Paul can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Paul Giammalvo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-paul-d-giammalvo/