If you want to become certified as a project manager you can choose between PMI vs IPMA. There are actually more internationally recognized and certified organizations, but these two are the best known. Let’s review to discover some of their differences and how they complement each other.
In our Executive Master in Project Management, students receive the necessary preparation to achieve both certifications. Both are well known standards and will be increasingly demanded by governments and companies in all sectors.
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IPMA stands for International Project Management Association. It is a non-profit association that offers four different certifications based on the candidate’s experience. Their system starts with level D for insiders, then they have levels C and B for project managers and level A for programme managers.
IPMA has a guide called the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB). As the name suggests, this document focuses on the core competencies that the project manager must have in order to be successful in his or her work. Interestingly, in those countries where they are based, a country-specific version is offered called the National Competence Baseline (NCB).
PMI stands for Project Management Institute. It is also a non-profit organization that offers training and up to eight certifications. Whether you are a newcomer to project management or an experienced project, programme or portfolio manager.
PMI has developed a guide called PMBOK that is identical for all countries. Its content is updated from time to time, but even when translated into other languages the content is the same. Its approach is different from ICB, it is a much more complete, practical and detailed document. It is a compendium of good practices in project management.
If ICB focuses on the necessary competencies of the project manager, PMBOK focuses on the processes to successfully manage a project.
Where do PMI and IPMA match?
Therefore the main differences between PMI vs IPMA are in the content of their guides. However, ICB, in explaining the technical competencies of the project manager, is very much in line with the PMBOK. The PMI guide certainly goes much deeper and is more practical, it goes so far as to propose tools and methods that can be applied in our project.
So we can say that both approaches are compatible, since ICB maintains a high level language, which is more flexible and less concrete both, but on the technical side goes in the line of PMBOK. PMBOK goes into more detail explaining the different processes, proposing techniques and methods that are very useful for the project manager. However, PMBOK does not go as deeply into behavioural skills as ICB.
More differences between PMI vs IPMA
The differences between PMI vs IPMA are not only in the content of their guides, but also in the way their certifications are obtained.
The origins of PMI are in the United States and can be seen in its most commercial trend. They allow for certification of inexperienced candidates (CAPM), and their most requested certificate (Project Management Professional) is obtained by taking a computer-based exam of 200 questions that you must complete in less than 4 hours.
IPMA emerges in Europe and focuses more on the competencies of the project manager. IPMA’s A, B and C level certificates are a little more complicated to obtain. The assessment is carried out by two advisors and includes a number of tasks that help to evaluate the competencies promulgated by ICB.
The vast majority of organizations that apply standards in project management use one of these guidelines. Which is best for each organization? First, it will be important to consider the purpose of certification. It is not a question of choosing the one that has the most reputation or the most expensive, but the one that best ensures the skills that the executives who are going to work in the organization should have.
This should take into account the context of the organization. Each business operates in a different environment, and although both standards are valid for all industries, in each case one may be more appropriate than the other. Once one has been chosen, a business case should be developed to assess what parts of the standard should be implemented and how it will be done.
In the Online Master in Project Management we equip students with the necessary knowledge so that they can analyse the situation and choose the option that best suits them. If you have any questions or would like more information about the course, please contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions.