PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
IPMA-USA’s Competence Enabler program has been a key part of our society since our founding. We originally called it the Most Valued Provider program, and then Donna Fitzgerald, as part of her term as Education Director, coined the more-likeable Competence Enabler name.
Its purpose is several-fold:
- Develop a PM Vendor group that understands how to Demonstrate the Competence Difference, and in turn, helps match participants with PM practitioners who wish to explore and develop that difference.
- Identify those rare PM Vendors that have the competence, capacity and desire to actually improve PM Performance, not only in basic knowledge acquisition, but in competence and performance development.
- Establish a support system for PM Vendors that assess and help improve individual and organizational PM Competence Development, based on IPMA-USA’s and IPMA’s competence standards.
There are major differences between IPMA-USA’s Competence Enabler program and other societies’ programs. We view our program not as a revenue-generating activity, but as a service both for PM Vendors, and for our members and friends.
Part of the difference is in the target certifications. Our entry level certification, IPMA-D, Project Management Associate, is a knowledge-based cert, just like others in the USA. But it relies more on relevant PM experience and common-sense application of appropriate methods, than on memorization. Because the majority of our exam scoring is based on essay questions rather than multiple choice or true/false questions, the exam probes grasp, moving towards skill, rather than memorized formulas and facts.
Our Advanced Certifications assess practitioners’ ability to demonstrate, to Professional Assessors, that they perform as a PM (= IPMA-USA), according to the Units and Performance Criteria of our published standards. This is a significantly more-advanced way to determine performance potential than entry-level, exam-based certifications. Of course, it is also a more stringent process for the certificant. The difference? Demonstrated PM Performance.
This may be why there are thousands of generic PM trainers and classes (and some are very good at what they do), but there may only be dozens of true and reliable PM Competence Enablers.
If this program has been in place since our founding, why highlight Competence Enablers today? Simple answer: We are in the process of delivering the last component of our advanced Performance Competence-based PM Certification Program. In the next month, we will begin piloting the assessment and certification of IPMA Level-A, certified Projects Director (Program Manager).
That will complete our suite of entry level (IPMA-D) through Advanced Certifications (IPMA-C, B and A):
- IPMA-D: Certified Project Associate (similar to other organzations’ knowledge-based certs)
- IPMA-C: Certified Project Manager (no other USA certification assesses PM performance)
- IPMA-B: Certified Senior Project Manager (an advanced certification; no similar certification exists)
- IPMA-A: Certified Program Manager (others have similar certs; ours engages professional assessors)
There is nothing like this PM certification-suite in the USA market today. And so, there is now the opportunity for the most-competent PM Vendors to Demonstrate the Competence Difference. Two Competence Enablers are already helping practitioners prepare for IPMA-D; others are positioning to help coach IPMA-A, B and C candidates and their organizations to improved performance.
We will tell more about our Competence Enablers who are ahead of the pack in a future post. Meanwhile, you can beat the rush by enrolling in IPMA-USA’s Competence Enabler program, if YOU can Demonstrate the Competence Difference!