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Dr P.D. Giammalvo: A Comparison of PM Certifications – A Preliminary Model

Number of View: 4491

pdgHave you ever wondered what professional level credentials are available for project/program managers to choose from, and how these various project management certifications compare against one another?

This was the subject that evolved from a lengthy and sometimes heated debate on one of the Linked In discussion pages relating to Project Management. While the original topic was “PMP: Does it assure you a job?” the debate quickly got off topic and centered around the relative value of the various credentials.
What became clear is that while everyone THINKS (or at least would like to believe) the credential they hold is the most valid and appropriate measure of project management knowledge, skills and competency, a quick on line review of published literature showed little or no peer reviewed research on this topic to provide any guidance or insight.

Another problem in making any comparison is while nearly all of the major professional organizations offer multiple levels of credentials, one cannot tell from the names of those credentials exactly what they represent vis a vis one another. (i.e. does holding the Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI really mean that the holder is a professional project manager?) Or what is a “Certified Cost Engineer” and how does that relate to project or program management?
This lack of any meaningful comparison was the driving force behind this exploratory research effort.

Due to the use of tables and diagrams – the complete paper is available here for download:

PM Certification Comparison Paper

PM Cert Comparison Table

NOTES Jan 12, 2010:

Based on inputs from some interested volunteers, I have UPDATED the SPREADSHEET model to include the US Professional Engineer (PE) licensing process.

So now we not only have a meaningful zero point, we have a recognized and highly respected professional credential near the top end to get more of a sense of the relative ranking of each of the credentials.

To download the revised file, go to http://www.build-project-management-competency.com/download-page/, then look for “Project Management Certifications Compared” but be sure to download the Excel Spreadsheet.

OR you can download this new table here:

Project-Management-Certifications-Updated-12-Jan-2010.xlsx

5 comments to Dr P.D. Giammalvo: A Comparison of PM Certifications – A Preliminary Model

  • Mark Marlin

    Paul –
    Excellent paper! As a long time PMP (#63, I took the very first exam in 1984) and a long time PMP prep course instructor (since 1999), I have seen the quality of people taking the PMP exam. Although many are proven PM’s, most are people (and IT folks at that) who just want to get the PMP next to their name to get a better job (and I certainly can’t blame them for that). I really fault the companies who believe all of PMI’s marketing hype about how great the “PMP” is. And I agree that PM is not a profession. To me, that’s like saying being a company president is a “profession.” Keep up the good work and have a great New Year!
    — Mark Marlin

  • Hi Mark,
    Glad you liked the article.

    Like you, I have been in the training business for a bit over 20 years now, and have seen the incoming quality of the people sitting for the PMP exam dropping. As our classes are 90 day long, blended learning courses, not the “instant” or “shake and bake” 5 or 7 courses offered by so many, I have empirical proof, as the first thing I do in our classes is conduct a Benchmark Exam, just to see where people are, and the incoming scores over the past 5 years especially are dropping from an average of ~60% down to ~35%.

    Unfortunately, the “new” PMI (since Virgil Carter and Policy Governance circa 1998 or thereabouts) no longer represents my values as a life long professional practitioner, and I now focus my energies on AACE and INCOSE, which, IMPO, do a better job of representing the practice of asset, program and project management than does PMI.

    Not sure if you are on Linked In, but if so, join in some of the discussions and you will find out that especially in India, the PMP has achieved cult status…. The HR people make having it a REQUIREMENT to get a job…..

    Absurd, but true….

    Thanks again and as I get more feedback, I hope to be able to refine the model….

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta (former PMP #740)
    http://www.build-project-management-competency.com

  • Hi Folks,
    Based on inputs from some interested volunteers, I have UPDATED the SPREADSHEET model to include the US Professional Engineer (PE) licensing process.

    So now we not only have a meaningful zero point, we have a recognized and highly respected professional credential near the top end to get more of a sense of the relative ranking of each of the credentials.

    To download the revised file, go to http://www.build-project-management-competency.com/download-page/, then look for “Project Management Certifications Compared” but be sure to download the Excel Spreadsheet.

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta
    http://www.build-project-management-competency.com

  • PMHUB has updated the blog to include the new spreadsheet

  • This paper was updated again in January of 2014 and can be found HERE- http://pmworldjournal.net/article/project-management-credentials-compared-2014-update/

    The study has been expanded to include 40 global credentials including the very disappointing ITIL credentials.

    I am currently working on the 2015 update now, tentatively scheduled to be published in January of 2015.

    The GOOD news is many organizations are using this research to UPGRADE or improve on their credentials. Already we are seeing the bar being raised by many organizations. Unfortunately, it does not appear as though PMI or Axelos (the PRINCE2 and ITIL people) are doing so.

    Take a look and see what you think. If you have any other credentials you want to see added to the assessment, please let me know……. pauldgphd@gmai.com

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia
    http://www.build-project-management-competency.com

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