The International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) is global in scope. Yet it is perhaps not as well-known as it should be.
It is dedicated to learning, certification, and networking for Project Managers. So, it has a lot in common with us. We covered its qualifications in our review: ‘Project Management Qualification: Should I or Shouldn’t I?’
That’s why we asked two of its Network Officials to tell you all about it. This article is the work of Bernd Ottmann and Linda Ottmann.
The IAPM is a global association and certification body for project managers. Its base is in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Unlike many other project management organizations, the IAPM is not a membership association. It has no paying members, but only voluntary ‘members’ or certificate holders. They have no duties towards the organization.
IAPM produces documents for Project Managers to use in their own self-study programs. And they also offer certifications for certain project manager degrees. In addition, their networking opportunities put project managers in touch with like‑minded professionals. And all these benefits come without having to pay a membership fee.
The IAPM’s members are project managers who come together through their networks. They are all:
The IAPM manages its regions through its Network Officials and Ambassadors.
The IAPM started out in 1997, as a loose network of international project managers. The aim was to gain and exchange project management knowledge.
Then, a year later, it released the PM Guide 1.0. This laid the basis for further developments and shaped the IAPM into what it is today.
In the following years, the loose network grew. It started hosting regular conferences: the ‘International Project Manager Meetings’. Its network grew. As a result of this and its goal to improve project management worldwide, the IAPM introduced its certification body in 2010.
In December 2010, it published the PM Guide 2.0 and followed it one month later with the Scrum Guide 1.0.
In the same year, the PM certification started for:
Later, in 2013, Certified Scrum Manager was replaced by the Certified Agile Project Manager. This came together with the release of the Agile Guide 2.0 (which replaced the Scrum Guide 1.0).
In December 2013, IAPM published the International Project Management Guide 2.0. And, since 2014 the certification for Certified International Project Manager has been available.
IAPM also wanted to meet the need for certifications in project management at universities and other higher education institutions. So, it introduced:
More recent highlights include:
By the end of 2018, the IAPM has met its strategic goals for 2018. Its network connects more than 21,000 project managers from 117 nations.
Around the world, IAPM is represented by:
Over 3,400 examinees passed its certification exams, with a success rate of about 83%. The top ten nations that its certificate holders come from are:
These days, people get knowledge through a wide range of methods and media. More and more ‘modern’ learning methods are replacing ‘traditional’ ones. Both the IAPM and OnlinePMCourses are at the forefront of this.
But there’s a challenge. Modern methods can often lack examination and certification rigor. Yet, these are fully integrated into traditional methods.
The IAPM is committed to examining knowledge:
The IAPM does not prescribe how students should gain the necessary knowledge. However, it does make project experience mandatory for some types of certification.
The IAPM issues a numbered certificate to candidates who pass their examination. This confirms their level of knowledge at the time of the examination.
Employers can verify a certificate’s authenticity – and therefore the holder’s level of knowledge – online. They can do so by entering the certificate holder’s name and certification level. The certificate officially documents the holder’s knowledge. Project Managers can use these for various purposes, such as:
The IAPM’s aims are to:
The IAPM also has a purpose to promote project management:
It processes and communicates project experiences, research knowledge, and teachings. And it reviews and improves project management competence thorough knowledge and skills assessments.
Perhaps IAPM’s most distinctive purpose is to foster international cooperation. In this, it aims to develop and refine project management standards and best practices. Therefore, it sets out guidelines for basic and advanced project management training.
The association is a non-profit organization and does not engage in commercial activities. IAPM may only use its funds for the purposes set out in the articles of association.
The IAPM is a registered association in the Principality of Liechtenstein (no. FL-0002.353.470-6) and has a non-profit status. The IAPM is a registered trademark (CTM trademark and DE trademark).
IAPM’s qualifications meet high standards. They are particularly valuable for Project Managers who want to work internationally. So, for example, it certifies project managers of the United Nations. So, its methodologies contribute to the successful handling of UN projects.
IAPM’s certifications are based on a global standard. So, they are comparable all over the world. They are not limited by national certification standards. IAPM boast that its:
A certification provides project managers with clear competitive advantages. It can help to launch or boost your career.
Of course, there cannot be the one and only certification for a project manager that covers all needs. So, if you are interested in taking a certification, here are some thoughts to consider.
However, when you make your choice, here are the benefits of IAPM certification.
IAPM ensures objective certification through randomized examination questions via its online examination system.
It provides additional material such as:
Do you already hold a Project Management certificate from another organization? IAPM offers the opportunity for certificate recognition. And their certificates are valid a life time, with no recurring re-certification costs. This is because IAPM believes your qualification shows you as a responsible project manager who has independently expanded your knowledge and experience. The IAPM does not see itself as a supervisory body.
IAPM is not a membership association. If you decide to join its network, there are neither commitments nor fees, just benefits.
You can choose between various disciplines and pick the certification that suits you best.
The chart shows the IAPM’s certifications (traditional and agile project management).
The first set of certifications confirm the holder’s theoretical project management knowledge. These are Certified:
The next set go beyond the holder’s theoretical project management knowledge. They also confirm at least five years of professional experience in project management. Three of those must be in a leadership position. This is a requirement for admission to the certification examination.
But, IAPM is nothing, if not international…
IAPM certificate holders (except the junior variants) are also eligible for Certified International Project Manager. This confirms their theoretical knowledge in the field of international project management.
IAPM also offers a certification for its training partners. This is the Certified Project Management Trainer (IAPM).
These days, people acquire knowledge with a wide range of methods and media. So, the IAPM doesn’t prescribe any one method. It leaves the choice of method up to you, the certification candidate. Examples include:
or a combination.
The IAPM provides a ‘self-test’ that isn’t dependent on participation in a course. You can take it online. The self-test lets you find any knowledge gaps, to help you meet the pre-certification learning requirements.
An examination will test and confirm your level of knowledge. When you pass, the IAPM will issue you a numbered certificate. Employers can verify your certificate’s authenticity online. This way, you can demonstrate your level of project management knowledge.
The IAPM wants every project manager in the world to be able to afford its certifications. So, they link their certification fees to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the candidate’s country. This ensures a fair pricing system for all (future) project managers of all nations.
Here’s an example:
You would like to become a Cert. Project Manager (IAPM):
To check the fees for your instance, visit the IAPM website for further information.
Additionally, the IAPM offers a 20% discount if you are:
These exclude Certified Junior Project Manager and Certified Junior Agile Project Manager certification and the associated pre-tests.
IAPM tries to offer as many people as possible access to its certifications. So, the preparation is simple and classroom training is not mandatory.
Prospective certification holders can fully prepare themselves for the exams through self-study.
As a basis for the certifications, the IAPM has developed special guidelines. These cover the knowledge requirements that are relevant for each certification exam.
The PM Guide 2.0 is the basis for the certification to Certified Project Manager (IAPM) and for the associated Junior or Senior certification. It covers basic knowledge in project
The PM Guide covers traditional project management. The Agile PM Guide 2.0 is available for project managers working in an agile context. It covers the two most common forms of agile project management, Scrum and Kanban. It also covers other agile methods like extreme programming.
Project management requirements in an agile environment differ from those in more traditional projects. The guide provides the knowledge necessary for certification in the agile area. It is ideal if you are working on software development projects. The guide supports Certified Junior and Senior Agile Project Manager certifications.
The third published guideline is the International PM Guide 2.0. The world is becoming more and more connected. So, project managers need to achieve good performance in an international setting. The languages, cultures and working methods of the different countries can differ. So, project managers need
The International PM Guide 2.0 is the basis for the Certified International Project Manager (IAPM).
These three guides are ideal for self-study. In addition, you also have the opportunity to get your hands on two white papers. These will be helpful to anyone interested in:
These white papers offer good overviews to extend your professional horizon.
In project management it is essential to always be up to date. So, IAPM provides the latest news on the subject of project management. Its blog covers interesting articles that are relevant for project work. They also cooperate with other organizations and companies who contribute guest articles. By reaching many readers they contribute to the improvement of project management.
Just to clarify: The International Association of Project Managers is a modern association, based on a global network of project managers, with no membership fees. So, there is no formal membership.
But if you want to contribute to the association, you are very welcome to participate in the IAPM’s activities, networks, and professional groups, or join our social media channels. You do not have to be certified by the IAPM.
As long as you promote professional exchange among project managers with a view to improving project management, you are part of the IAPM. Furthermore, you can organize network meetings, be a training partner of the IAPM or apply for a position as a local network official. Simply get in touch with us.
So, don’t hesitate: participate. Even if we are not a traditional membership organization, you can be a part of our network!
There are several ways to get in touch with the IAPM. You can use the contact form on their website to send a specific message. You can also engage with them on social media, and follow their activities.
The IAPM website provides further information about everything you have read above.
We would love to hear from you about your experiences or questions. Feel free to leave us a comment below.
Bernd found his way into project management by attending a seminar for project management basics in 2012. There he passed both certifications for Certified Project Management Associate (GPM) and Certified Project Manager (IAPM). To expand his expertise in project management, he obtained the Cert. Agile Project Manager (IAPM) certification in 2013.
The IAPM’s concept convinced him and he decided to become active in this organization.
Since then, he has been one of the first Network Officials at Network University. The Network University is a good first step for all students into project management. He has already organized various projects in this environment, e.g. network meetings for students.
He completed his bachelor’s degree in life science engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and is now specializing in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology by obtaining his Master’s degree. Because of the interdisciplinarity in the field of life sciences and the high project complexity, project management is particularly relevant here.
Linda completed her first certification as Cert. Project Manager (IAPM) in 2013. Since then she has been active at the IAPM, initially as Network Official University. Since 2014 she is also Cert. Agile Project Manager (IAPM).
During her studies in tourism
As CCO she is the representative of the IAPM and responsible for the IAPM’s public relations. She ensures that the reputation of the IAPM is built and maintained. And, she is the contact person for IAPM Network Officials, IAPM partners, certificate holders,
Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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