Do We Need Another Certification?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

The topic of certifications for project managers is one that continues to generate as much heat as it does light. This column has already discussed the issue of certification extensively, but recent events warranted revisiting the topic once more. PMI has announced the impending launch of a new certification--a program management credential.
The credential is expected to be publicized more widely this year, but some information regarding its structure and the assessment process has already been made available. So the question needs to be asked…do we need another certification? And is this the one we need?
Back in 2002, this column explored project management certifications and their perceived value in detail. One column provided an overview of the other certification frameworks available internationally. The IPMA certification framework has four levels of certification, where their entry level certification is analogous to the PMP.
The processes of other certifications are also more involved. The advanced levels within the IPMA framework require references for completed projects and an interview with a panel. The Australian framework is tied to that nation's competency standards, and involves hands-on assessment and verification by independent resources that actually monitor performance in the workplace of the person seeking certification.
Since that time, PMI has …

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