This Guest paper was submitted for publication January 2010. It is copyright to Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo under the Creative Commons License 3.0 BY, NC, ND

Introduction | Selecting the Credentials to Compare
Developing the Rating Criteria | Methodology
 Explanation of Data Categories | Other Factors | PART 2

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, is Senior Technical Advisor (Project and Program Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also an adjunct professor, Project and Program Management, at the SKEMA School of Business, Paris, and teaches graduate level curricula in Asset and Project Management for Western Australia University, Perth. He is active in the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACE); Construction Specifications Institute (CSI); Construction Management Association of America, (CMAA) and serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS). Email:


Have you ever wondered what professional level credentials are available for project/program managers to choose from, and how these various project management certifications compare one to 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 on 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 our recent exploratory research effort. Please note, however, that this investigation is not intended to be a definitive piece of research. That is because we have made a number of assumptions that have been incorporated into the calculations that may or may not be valid. Our sole purpose was:

  1. To see if it was feasible to produce a meaningful ratio scale against which to rank order and compare the relative standings of the various credentials based on information available on the Internet, and;
  2. To generate sufficient interest and debate for others to carry this research forward in a more academically sound and rigorous manner.

Therefore, this should be seen as a challenge to all concerned practitioners, to the professional organizations that purport to represent them, and to those companies and agencies that employ or contract the professional services of the holders of these credentials. The challenge is to support the creation of a "Consumer Reports" or "Underwriters Laboratory" of project/program management related certifications and credentials. That is to say, an independent testing and validation organization, such as the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS),[1] that can create and maintain an acceptable evaluation standard.


1. See
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page