Project management, which was born in the 1960, is increasingly being recognised as a true project profession with recognised standards and accreditation routes. However around the world a number of different standards have emerged for the accreditation and certification of project managers. These include
- PMP Certification from the USA based Project Management Institute. This is the most popular certification standard with about 450,000 practitioners. This certification is based on a role delineation study which looked at the skills project managers use day to day in delivering projects. It draws heavily, but not exclusively, on the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which is a detailed description of the processes and procedures which underpin project management.
- PRINCE2 Practitioner which is sponsored by the Office of Government Commerce which is part of the UK Government. This also has around 400,000 qualified practitioners. PRINCE2 is a method that describes the stages a project should go through to operate in a controlled way, along with the roles and responsibilities of the key members of the project team, including the Project Executive, Project Manager, Senior User and Senior Supplier.
- APM Training from the UK Association for Project Management includes a wide range of qualifications at different levels including the APM Introductory Certificate, APMP, APM Practitioner and APM Registered Project Professional. The latter of these is a professional standard for managers of complex projects. These qualifications are less popular than the other two but they do offer a clear development roadmap for project managers at different stages in their career.
Which Standard to Select for a Global Organisation?
For most organisations working in one national territory then the selection is easy, in the UK the APM or PRINCE2 qualifications are very strong and wildly recognised, while in the rest of the world PMP is the natural choice. However this creates a difficulty for multinational organisations. For those based in the USA then PMP is the natural choice however a UK multinational may be inclined to adopt one of the UK standards (APM or PRINCE2) but these will not be recognised or have little value for those outside the UK. These organisation have the dilemma of selecting between a standard recognised in the UK and one recognised in the rest of the world. The solutions is to combine the different approaches into one Project Academy.
What is a Project Academy?
A project academy is a structured development programme to meet the specific development needs of project managers at different stages in their project management development. If combines three elements
- External certification to a standard reliant to the local standards (APM, PRINCE2 or PMI).
- Bespoke training modules specific to the needs of the organisation for example the need to improve commercial management of projects or adopt a consistent method across all projects.
- Continuous professional development activities which can include external development activities including local chapter meeting, participation in conferences or internal development opportunities such as job shadowing or project secondment.
The aim is develop the whole project manager both the generic skills but an understanding of the business context in which the project is being delivered. Organisations such as NASA have been running Project Academies for many years. This offers a number of development activities to build a complete project manager. Including formal and informal development activities to develop project managers from a introductory to a strategic level of project management leadership. This more rounded approach to the development of professional project management is going to be critical in developing professional project managers of the future. Parallel Project Training are working with a number of organisations to develop and implement project management academies based on these principles for more information download our Parallel Project Academy White Paper