Project Management Certification

Benchmarking Research: 2020 Update



Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCP, MScPM, MRICS, CCE

Jakarta, Indonesia




This is the fourth in a series of updates to this research, and most likely, the last update to an ongoing research project started in 2010 to benchmark as many globally recognized project management credentials as possible against two independent and external standards.  To appeal to Millennial practitioners, the first benchmark was to test against Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour” rule[1] while the second benchmark was the level of effort as well as the milestones required to earn the Professional Engineers (PE) license[2] in the USA, which we know to be a legitimate professional license to practice issued by the State governments. For the purposes of this paper, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) standards were adopted as the basis for establishing the engineering benchmarks. Additional or supplemental references were made to private and commercial pilot’s licensing requirements, where necessary to provide context or comparisons.

The original purpose of this research was to:

  1. To provide the basis to compare the relative “value” or “worth” of the various credentials based on a true ratio scale.
  2. To provide the basis to compare “equivalency” and “value for money” (benefit: cost analysis)
  3. To serve as a challenge to those organizations offering these certifications to “raise the bar” to meet legitimate standards of professional assessment.

Having met all 3 objectives and having put the scoring model into the public domain under Creative Commons License BY, the author hopes that others will pick up this research and carry it forward.

To recap, here is the scoring model, which was designed to STANDARDIZE as many of the COMMON variables as possible (such as the value of a bachelors degree) so that only those attributes which served to truly differentiate one certification or credential from others were included in the total score, which measured the total level of effort to prepare for, prequalify, qualify and earn each credential, “the underlying hypothesis being the more robust and rigorous the process, and the more it looks beyond the ability to pass multiple-choice exams and actually analyzes real-life “deliverables and outcomes, the more likely it is to validate that the person holding the credential is “competent.”


Table 1- Scoring Model Explained

Figure 2 below will help to explain in the “Big Picture” how the various credentials are rated or analyzed against both Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour” rule AND the PE license milestones.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Giammalvo, P.D. (2020). Project Management Certification Benchmarking Research: 2020 Update; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue I, January. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/pmwj89-Jan2020-Giammalvo-pm-certification-benchmarking-research-2020-Update.pdf



About the Author


Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS

Jakarta, Indonesia



Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, is a Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. www.build-project-management-competency.com. He is noted for the development and delivery of graduate level, blended learning curricula designed for the mid-career path, English as Second Language (ESL) professionals to develop competency in the local practitioner and build capacity for the local organizations. For 25+ years, he has been developing and delivering Project Management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia Pacific, the Middle East, West Africa, and Europe.

He is also active in the Global Project Management Community, by playing a “thought leadership” role for the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACEI) http://www.aacei.org/since 1991; He has also been active in two IPMA member organizations: The Green Project Management Association (GPM) http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/ where he served on the Certification Board of Directors for two years and the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management http://www.asapm.org/ for which he served for four years on the BoD as Director of Marketing. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS), www.globalpmstandards.org, Sydney, Australia and is active as a regional leader. Currently, he is a compensated consultant to the International Guild of Project Controls. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild  as the primary author of their “Compendium and Reference” as well as the chief architect of their competency-based credentialing program. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/certification

He has spent 35 of the last 50 years working on large, highly technical international projects, including such prestigious projects as the Alyeska Pipeline and the Distant Early Warning Site (DEW Line), upgrades in Alaska and the Negev Airbase Constructors, Ovda, Israel and the Minas Oil Field in Rumbai, Sumatra. His current client list includes Fortune 500 major telecommunications, oil, gas and mining companies plus the UN Projects Office and many other multi-national companies, NGO organizations and Indonesian Government Agencies.

In addition to 45+ years of hands-on field experience, Dr. Giammalvo holds an undergraduate degree in Construction Management, his Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and was awarded his PhD in Project and Program Management through the Institute Superieur De Gestion Industrielle (ISGI) and Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Lille (ESC-Lille) under the supervision of Professor Christophe Bredillet.  “Dr. PDG” can be contacted at pauldgphd@gmail.com.

To view other original work by Paul Giammalvo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-paul-d-giammalvo/


[1] Gladwell, Malcolm 2018 Youtube Presentation “10,000 Hours Demystified” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uB5PUpGzeY

[2] National Society for Professional Engineers (NSPE) https://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/resources/faq