Project Management Certification


Benchmarking Research: 2023 Update



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

Jakarta, Indonesia


This is the fifth and the last update to an ongoing research project started in 2010 to benchmark as many globally recognized project management credentials as possible against three 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 the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) standards were adopted as the basis for establishing the engineering benchmarks. Where necessary, additional or supplemental references were made to private and commercial pilot licensing requirements 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 challenge those organizations offering these certifications to “raise the bar” to meet legitimate professional assessment standards.

The purpose of the final installment of this research is to:

  1. Summarize the findings of the previous versions and set the stage for someone else to pick up the ball and run with it.
  2. Integrate these findings with other research done on defining common job descriptions and the attributes required based on using sophisticated keyword analysis software and;
  3. Given the debates in social media, take the previous information and develop a career path template based on the PMO/Project Controls/Construction Project Management career path options that have evolved in construction since around the end of World War II, for other sectors to reference to see if what has been tested and  PROVEN to work in construction can be used “as is” or adapted for use on other sectors.

The driver behind this update is the very disappointing research published by KPMG and IPMA  based on 2020 data that showed[3]:

    • 52 percent of projects are delivered with stakeholder satisfaction 
    • 51 percent of projects are likely to meet the original goal and business intent 
    • 48 percent of respondents feel their organization manages projects and programs effectively or very effectively
    • 42 percent of projects are likely to be delivered on time 
    • 40 percent of projects are likely to be delivered on budget.

Given that Australia is a sophisticated, well-educated country with strong representation from AACE, PMI, IPMA, and their own homegrown AIPM, it is a powerful indictment that after ~50 years of “modern” project management, what these organizations have been advocating is not working and as Henry Ford supposedly told us “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got.” Or how about the supposed quote from Einstein, who told us, “doing the same things over and over again but expecting results being the definition of insanity.”

So how much longer is it going to take us to figure out what has been TESTED and PROVEN to work over the 6000+ years humans have been “initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing” projects and embrace those “best tested and PROVEN” practices, and adopt them or adapt them for use in other sectors?

To recap, here is the exam-based certification scoring model, which was designed to STANDARDIZE as many of the COMMON variables as possible (such as the value of a bachelor’s degree) so that only those attributes which served to 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.”


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this work: Giammalvo, P. D. (2023). Project Management Certification Benchmarking Research: 2023 Update, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/pmwj127-Mar2023-Giammalvo-PM-Certifications-Benchmarking-Research-2023-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

[3] AIPM and KPMG Project Management Survey 2020- https://home.kpmg/au/en/home/insights/2020/08/australian-project-delivery-performance-survey-2020.html