Project Management Credentials Compared: A Follow Up Analysis


By Paul D. Giammalvo 

Jakarta, Indonesia


Back in December of 2010, I attempted to create a “scoring model” that would enable some sort of rational and meaningful comparison between the various credentials common in the world of project management.  The initial study consisted of those credentials having a reasonable degree of global recognition, including those of PMI, IPMA, AIPM, AACE, INCOSE and APM/OGC. (Reference PM World Journal Volume 2, Issue 1 January 2013, Second Edition https://pmworldjournal.net/article/project-management-credentials-compared-a-preliminary-analysis/ )

To recap, this scoring model was based on the total “end to end” “level of effort” required to qualify for, prepare, take and earn each of the credentials, applying the principle of “earned hours” for fulfilling each of the requirements. The underlying assumption being that the more stringent and tough the requirements, the more likely the credential was to reliably and accurately validate “COMPETENCY”.

As a baseline, I selected the US “Professional Engineer” license (PE) as the benchmark of excellence, as it is a well-recognized and highly regarded professional level “license to practice” which established both the MINIMUM acceptable level to begin to practice (as an Engineer In Training- EIT)) as well as an upper threshold, which was the MINIMUM acceptable level to obtain a license to practice as an independent Professional Engineer. (PE)  As this scale does not have a true zero, it only provides us with the ability to create an interval scale. That is, lacking a true zero point, we can plot the relative standings of each credential, but we are unable to say with any reliability by how much one credential was “tougher” or “easier” to obtain, when compared against any another.

To further support the efforts to establish a true ratio rather than merely an interval scoring model, I researched to find a metric which had a true zero point.   For that, I looked to the contemporary writings of Malcolm Gladwell, who, in his book “Outliers” made a strong case that to become “PROFESSIONALLY COMPETENT” at anything, one had to dedicate at minimum of 10,000 hours of serious, professional level practice and progressively more challenging experience before one could master his/her sport or profession, be it music, basketball, auto racing, commercial piloting or project management.

With Gladwell having provided not only a true zero point, but also a minimum threshold of hours, it provides us with a way not only to create an interval scale measure of the various credentials but also to create a true ratio scale- that is, we can see whether one credential requires half the level of effort of the other or twice as much level of effort to obtain it, the inference being, the more rigorous the process, the more likely the credential is to actually measure competency.

The scoring model I created in 2010 was published in the December issue of the now defunct PM World Today/PM Forum e-Journal.  It was also made available under creative commons license from our website download page. (http://tinyurl.com/c59awm3 or here http://tinyurl.com/ceq77vs )   During the past two years, there have been over 8,000 downloads of the narrative/Excel spread sheet based version and during the past 2 years, received some 25 comments/suggestions for improvements on the model. This update incorporates those inputs.

As with the original publication, I do not see this as a final end product, but merely a progression to help us understand the process of measuring and assessing competency in applied project and program management.  Accordingly, I am actively seeking graduate or PhD level researchers who would be willing to pick this early research and conduct a more rigorous, scholarly assessment.

However, in the meantime, I think readers will find this update to the initial research to be interesting and if nothing else, I hope it stimulates a robust dialog about what professional organizations purporting to represent the practice of project management can and should be doing to “raise the bar” consistent with other professions.


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Author 

paul-giammaivoflag-usa-indonesiaDr. Paul D. Giammalvo

Jakarta, Indonesia 

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, is Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. www.build-project-management-competency.com. He is also an adjunct professor, Project and Program Management, at the Center for Advanced Studies in Project, Program and Portfolio Management (www.casr3pm.edu.sn) and develops and teaches graduate level curricula in Asset and Project Management for Western Australia University, Perth. www.blendedlearning.ecm.uwa.edu.au  For 17+ 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 also sat on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS), www.globalpmstandards.org, Sydney, Australia and 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, Unocal, 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, his Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and was awarded his 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].