International Project Management Association

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The International Project Management Association ( IPMA for short ) is a global project management association that originates from Europe and has been a certification body since 1995 .


It was founded in 1965 by Roland Gutsch only as a discussion group for international project managers and was called INTERNET until 1994. The first international congress took place in Vienna in 1967 . 72 national project management associations with more than 40,000 members worldwide are united under the umbrella of IPMA, for example the ASAPM ( American Society for the Advancement of Project Management ) is the national organization of the USA .

It was formally established in 1979 and chose Switzerland as the seat for the secretariat and the society; international expert seminars were held at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon. The registered office of the company was Monmouth in Wales until 2002 , Nijkerk from 2002 to 2014 and Amsterdam in the Netherlands from 2014 .

Presidents :

  • 1972–1976: Olof Hörberg ( Sweden )
  • 1976–1982: Roland Gutsch ( Germany )
  • 1982–1985: Steen Lichtenberg ( Denmark )
  • 1985–1988: Eric Gabriel (UK)
  • 1988–1991: Roland Gutsch (Germany)
  • 1991–1994: Morten Fangel (Denmark)
  • 1994–1996: Klaus Pannenbäcker (Germany)
  • 1996–1998: Giles Caupin ( France )
  • 1998–2000: Rodney Turner (UK)
  • 2000–2002: Daniel Scheifele ( Switzerland )
  • 2002–2004: Miles Shepard (UK)
  • 2004–2006: Adesh Jain ( India )
  • 2006–2008: Veikko Välilä ( Finland )
  • 2008–2010: Brigitte Schaden ( Austria )
  • 2010–2012: Roberto Mori ( Italy )
  • 2012–2014: Mladen Radujkovic ( Croatia )
  • 2015–2017: Reinhard Wagner (Germany)


The national associations professionalize project management taking into account country-specific cultural requirements. In order to guarantee a uniformly high quality and to maintain common standards, the IPMA published the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB) in 1999 . It represents the basis of the national project management baselines, which in turn form the basis for the national certification programs.

Project management model

In terms of content, the project management knowledge elements in the ICB were specified differently according to mandatory and optional elements, which can accordingly be found in the national project management baselines.

From 2007, but no later than January 1, 2008, the new ICB 3.0 must be put into effect by all national associations. The ICB 3.0 (IPMA Competence Baseline) is published exclusively in English by the IPMA (in contrast to the ICB 2.0 which was published in English, French and German).

The ICB 3.0 comprises the following three fields of competence (summarized in a so-called competence eye):

  • Behavioral Competences (15 behavioral competences ) - e.g. E.g .: openness, efficiency, leadership, result orientation, negotiation, conflicts, crises, etc.
  • Contextual Competences (11 context-dependent competencies) - e.g. E.g .: project orientation, program orientation, portfolio orientation, personnel management, financing, legal aspects, etc.
  • Technical Competences (20 technical competences) - e.g. E.g .: project management, project structures, risks and opportunities, resources, costs and finances, time and project phases, goals and results, communication, project start, project completion, etc.

All 46 competencies are checked in different ways depending on the level of certification (Level A - Level D), but these requirements are the same for all countries. The ICB 3.0 thus represents a further step towards globally binding project management standards. In 2015 the ICB 4.0 was adopted.


The IPMA has been offering project management certifications since 1995, since 1998 consisting of a four-stage certification system (4-LC). The guarantee of the high quality level of this system is the responsibility of the certification body of GPM (PM-Zert) in Germany, the VZPM in Switzerland and Projekt Management Austria (PMA) in Austria . A team of two assessors is employed for each certificate level, which puts the knowledge, experience and personality of the aspirant to the test. The following certificate levels are defined:

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

The knowledge required for certification and the classification at the respective certificate level can be viewed using the ICB 4.0 (IPMA competence guideline).

The recertifications are due every five years. As of 2019, the IPMA has issued around 300,000 certifications.

Project Excellence Award

Since 2002, the IPMA has been giving the IPMA International Project Excellence Award to project teams that demonstrate top performance in project management. This was developed from the German Project Excellence Award (formerly: "German Project Management Award"), which GPM has been awarding in Germany since 1996. Project teams can apply for the German or International Project Excellence Award. There are three levels for the best teams:

  1. Project Excellence Award Finalist
  2. Project Excellence Award Winner
  3. Project Excellence Award winner

The applicants are assessed by a five-person team of assessors in a multi-stage process ( assessment ). The decision on the award of one of the above-mentioned award levels is made by a top-class jury.

IPMA in Germany

In Germany, the IPMA is represented by the German Society for Project Management (GPM). The GPM brings together more than 6,900 project managers and companies in more than 35 GPM regions. This makes the GPM the largest association of project managers in Germany. As of January 2019, PM-Zert, the certification body of GPM, has awarded the following certificate levels in Germany:

Basic Certificate (GPM) (over 23,400 certificates)
IPMA Level D (over 47,000 certificates)
IPMA® Level D - Certified Project Management Associate
IPMA Level C (over 7,000 certificates)
IPMA® Level C - Certified Project Manager
IPMA Level B (over 2,150 certificates)
IPMA® Level B - Certified Senior Project Manager
IPMA Level A (120 certificates)
IPMA® Level A - Certified Project Director.

GPM has summarized the knowledge required for certification in the standard work Competence-based Project Management (PM4): Handbook for Practice and Further Education in Project Management on the basis of the IPMA Competence Baseline Version 4.0 . The classification to the respective certificate level can be made on the basis of the ProjektManager taxonomy .

IPMA in Austria

In Austria, the IPMA is represented by Projekt Management Austria (PMA). In February 2020 there were around 21,000 certified persons in Austria.

IPMA in Switzerland

The Swiss Project Management Association (spm) represents Switzerland as an exclusive member of the IPMA. The certifications are carried out by the VZPM, the certification body in Switzerland.

Number of certified persons in Switzerland (as of May 2020)

  • IPMA Level D total 16,160
  • IPMA Level C total 2,894
  • IPMA Level B total 1,657
  • IPMA Level A total 93

Other project management organizations

In addition to the IPMA, there are other project management organizations, the two best known are the American Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British AXELOS as the publisher of the project management method PRINCE2 .


Web links

Commons : International Project Management Association  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. Contact page of the organization
  3. IPMA 50 years Building Bridges Worldwide
  5. ^ Association for the certification of persons in management , accessed on February 23, 2015.
  6. ICB 4.0
  7. IPMA® Certification Yearbook 2017
  8. Certified project manager basic certificate in Germany . GPM German Society for Project Management e. V.
  9. Certified Project Manager Level D in Germany . GPM German Society for Project Management e. V.
  10. Certified Project Manager Level C in Germany . GPM German Society for Project Management e. V.
  11. Certified Project Manager Level B in Germany . GPM German Society for Project Management e. V.
  12. Certified Project Manager Level A in Germany . GPM German Society for Project Management e. V.
  13. About us. Projekt Management Austria, accessed on September 8, 2019 .
  15. VZPM website , accessed on March 1, 2014.
  16. Jahresbericht_2018.pdf