IPMA Competence Baseline
(ICB)

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The project management certification methodology for project managers by the International Project Management Association (IPMA). Explanation of the IPMA Competence Baseline of Caupin, Knoepfel, Morris and Pannenbäcker. ('99)

Contributed by: Jean-Michel DE JAEGER

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  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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IPMA Competence BaselineWhat is the IPMA Competence Baseline? Description

Today, project management is used globally by both large corporations, governments, and smaller organizations as a means of meeting their customers’ or constituents’ needs by both standardizing and reducing the basic tasks necessary to complete a project in the most effective and efficient manner.

To reach this objective, the IPMA Competence Baseline is a methodology that can be used to evaluate and certify the necessary capabilities of  project managers into 4 certified levels:

  • IPMA Level A: Certified Projects Director
  • IPMA Level B: Certified Senior Project Manager
  • IPMA Level C: Certified Project Manager
  • IPMA Level D: Certified Project Management Associate

To assess the overall competence, a descriptive document is used: the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB). The last version of the ICB, version 3, was launched in 2006.

The ICB model contains a range of 7 competences with 60 elements:

  1. Basics Project Management: 1) Projects and Project Management. 2) Project Management Implementation. 3) Management by Project. 4) System Approach and Integration. 5) Project Context. 6) Project Phases and Life Cycle. 7) Project Development and Appraisal. 8) Project Objectives and Strategies. 9) Project Success and failure Criteria. 10) Project Start Up. 11) Project Close Out.
  2. Methods and Techniques: 12) Project Structures. 13) Content, Scope. 14) Time Schedules. 15) Resources. 16) Project Cost and Finance. 17) Configurations and Changes. 18) Project Risks. 19) Performance Measurement. 20) Project Controlling. 21) Information, Documentation, Reporting.
  3. Organizational Competence: 22) Project Organization. 27) Procurement, Contracts. 30) Standards and Regulations. 31) Problem Solving. 32) Negotiations, Meetings. 33) Permanent Organization. 34) Business Processes. 35) Personal Development. 36) Organizational Learning.
  4. Social Competence: 23) Teamwork. 24) Leadership. 25) Communication. 26) Conflict and Crises.
  5. General Management: 28) Project Quality. 29) Project Information System. 37) Management of Change. 38) Marketing, Product Management. 39) System management. 40) Safety, Health, Environment. 41) Legal Aspects. 42) Finance and Accounting.
  6. Personal Attitudes: 43) Ability to Communicate. 44) Ability of Motivation (initiative, engagement, enthusiasm). 45) Ability to Relate (openness). 46) Ability of Value Appreciation. 47) Ability of Negotiating (conflict solving, argumentation culture, fairness). 48) Ability of Finding Solution (holistic thinking). 49) Ability of Loyalty (solidarity, readiness for helping). 50) Ability of Leadership.
  7. General Impression: 51) Logic. 52) Structured Way of Thinking. 53) Absence of Error. 54) Clearness. 55) Common Sense. 56) Transparency. 57) Overview. 58) Balanced judgment. 59) Horizon of Experience. 60) Skillfulness.

Ranking for each element goes from Low, Medium to High.

Taxonomy, Standards and Guidelines, and References complete the ICB assessment system.
 

Origin of the IPMA Competence Baseline. History

IPMA was launched in 1965 in Switzerland under the name of INTERNET (until 1994) by an European group of Project Managers. The first congress was in 1967 in Vienna, Austria with members from 30 countries. The main contributors to the European ICB model were Gilles Caupin from France, Dr Hans Knoepfel from Switzerland, Prof Dr Peter WG Morris from United Kingdom, and Dr Olaf Pannenbäcker from Germany.
 

Calculation of the IPMA Competence Baseline. Formula

The capabilities for each level are defined and calculated as:


Competence = Applied Knowledge + Relevant Experience (Skill)+ Professional Behavior (Attitude).


Usage of the IPMA Competence Baseline. Applications

The IPMA certification model can be used across the whole range of Project Managers. It assesses the level of knowledge, experience (skill), personal attitudes and behavior (attitude) of project managers to manage project complexity. The range goes from coordinating a single project to managing the corporate projects portfolio through managing multi-project and programs.


Steps in the IPMA Competence Baseline. Process

The levels of IPMA certification are based on the ICB competence Baseline and adapted for each national association in the IPMA-NCB (National Competence Baseline) to adjust the model to the particular culture and practices in a country.

Each Certification Level consists of a 3 stages process:

  • Stage 1: Application, career résumé, self-assessment and following the level project lists and references.
  • Stage 2: A written exam (lower levels), an optional workshop, seminars and project report (higher levels).
  • Stage 3: An interview.

The period of validity of the certification is 5 years. The requisite for each level are:

  • Level A: age > 35, 3-7 years experience (following diploma level) with projects portfolio or program practice.
  • Level B: age > 30, 3-7 years experience of complex projects practice within the last 2 years.
  • Level C: age > 25, 3-5 years experience of projects practice within the last 2 years.
  • Level D: age > 20, 1 year experience even partly in projects practice without responsibility.

Strengths of the IPMA Competence Baseline. Benefits

  • The IPMA model focuses on a skill assessment and improvement of the project manager through 4 levels of competence.
  • The major issues in project management are actually in managing. The ICB reflects this.

Limitations of the IPMA Competence Baseline. Disadvantages

IPMA is a project management competence and capability model for project Managers' certification level. It is built on PMI Methodology and deontology code. As PMI methodology focuses on the Processes and the PRINCE2 Methodology focuses on the Products to deliver, the IPMA-ICB model focuses on the Capabilities of the project manager.


Assumptions of the IPMA Competence Baseline. Conditions

It is useful to certify the capability level of project managers to have a recognition of their skillfulness independently of the firm where they currently are employed.


Book: IPMA Competence Baseline Version 3.0 -


IPMA Competence Baseline Forum
  Project Managment Certification Levels
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IPMA Competence Baseline Special Interest Group


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IPMA Competence Baseline Education & Events


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Compare with the ICB: PRINCE2  |  PMBOK  |  OPM3  |  MSP  |  PMMM  |  Team Management Profile  |  Stages of Team Development  |  RACI


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