IPMA Level B®

The following requirements are common to all IPMA Member Associations (MAs) that offer the 4-L-C. Some MAs may impose additional requirements.

Experience. Three years in a responsible leadership position in the management of complex projects, plus two additional years in project management. All five years of experience must have been obtained during the last eight years.

Assessment considerations. Candidates will be expected to provide evidence that they have done the following:

  • Were responsible for all project management aspects of a complex project.
  • Managed a large project management team and led managers of sub-projects.
  • Used appropriate project management processes, methods, techniques and tools.

A Member Association Example

IPMA’s Member Associations, rather than IPMA itself, administers all certifications. Each modifies the process (within reason) to fit the unique needs of our nations. This example of the IPMA Level B process, is from PRYSERT, the semi-autonomous certification body of  PMAF, IPMA-Finland.

IPMA Certified Senior Project Manager is an internationally recognised advanced-level qualification in the area of project management. The certification is valid for five years. The certification process is illustrated below. The time required to complete the certification process is typically 3 – 9 months, and no more than 12 months. The schedule and milestones can be agreed to between the applicant and the assessors.

For the IPMA Level B certification process the applicant must have a complex reference project, in which the applicant has been the accountable project manager. The reference project must be finished (not more than two years ago) to enable estimating the applicant’s role in the overall success of the project. The reference project must be sufficiently complex to be accepted as a reference project for IPMA Level B certification process.

The criteria for the complexity of the reference project are:

  • Many interrelated subsystems / sub-projects and elements and relations to the project context
  • Several companies and/or organisational units involved
  • Several different disciplines working for the project
  • Several different phases with considerable durations
  • Many known PM methods, techniques, tools applied
  • Defined objectives and assessment of results
  • Several interested parties – integration of expectation
  • Multi cultural and social context
  • Degree of innovation – general conditions
  • Project structure – demand for coordination
  • Project organisation
  • Leadership, teamwork, decisions
  • Defined resources, including finance
  • Including risks and opportunities

 The reference project must be important enough to provide evidence of competent management. Additional parameters that are taken in to consider include:

  • Amount of time the applicant dedicates to the project
  • Number of sub-projects
  • Size of project as an investment
  • Size of project organisation

A project need not be very extensive to be sufficiently complex, although complexity often coincides with project size. In certain cases projects with as little as 200 000 – 500 000 € costs can contain sufficient complexity.

Phase 1

The certification process starts with the submission of the application form (including CV), the project experience form, the self-assessment form, and the reference project proposal by the applicant:

  • The application form (including CV) comprises personal data, basic education, career history with task/responsibility descriptions, and competence development history including training or other educational activities relating to project management. The CV may be of free form, but must include a description of applicant’s possible contribution to project management tools, techniques, methods, competence, etc. development.
  • The project experience form collects applicant’s project experience, including a chronological list of projects, programs and portfolios and the applicant’s roles and responsibilities in each one.
  • The reference project proposal is a 3 – 5 page free form summary describing the applicant’s role in the project where applicant had the role of a accountable project manager, including:

1. Description of backgrounds and facts needed for the assessment of the complexity including among others:

  • Project goals / objectives
  • Project size
  • Project uniqueness / novelty issues
  • Sub-projects / -areas
  • Relations and interested parties of the project
  • Challenges to the project management
  • Enterprises and organisation units involved in the project implementation
  • Disciplines participated in the project implementation
  • Project phases and their durations
  • Project organisation

2. Description of the applicants role as a project manager including among others the roles in:

  • the definition and maintain of project strategy and objectives
  • the selection, employment, performance evaluation and rewarding of project personnel
  • the internal and external project coordination
  • the planning, follow up and decision making concerning project scope, costs resources and schedules
  • the leadership

NOTE: In case sufficient details are not available, the reference project will not be considered sufficiently complex for IPMA Level B certification. Only project management complexity will be taken in to consideration. Technical (i.e. industry specific) complexity, or lack thereof, will not affect the perceived level of complexity.

  • The self-assessment form addresses applicant’s knowledge and experience according to the framework presented in IPMA-Finland’s standards, and the competence level definitions on the self-assessment form.

All required document templates, the Projektin Johdon Pätevyys 3.0 (IPMA-Finland’s National Competence Baseline 3.0) and the IPMA-certified individual’s ethical instructions are available at the Project Management Association Finland web site (www.pry.fi). If the submitted materials do not contain sufficient information, the entry requirements are not met, or the relevant instructions are not followed the applicant will not be allowed to enter the certification process.

The application must be submitted to certification coordinator, preferably through e-mail. A signed copy of the application form must be presented to the assessors or mailed.

Phase 2

The applicant writes a project report of 15 – 25 pages and submits it to the certification coordinator.

 The project report shall be addressed to the assessors. The structure of competence elements presented in chapter 3 of IPMA-Finland’s National Competence Baseline 3.0, shall be employed as far as possible as the structure of the project report. The report must also explain the background of the project, client, methods and tools used for management of the project as well as the gained experiences and lessons learned concerning the management of the project.

 The project report must contain appendices describing the project management in practice, e.g.content of the project plan, examples of project schedules, cost estimates, resource plans, budgets, project reports, minutes of project meetings, etc. The amount of appendices should be 10 as a maximum.

The report must indicate clearly the applicant’s contribution to the project management and his/her project management skills.

 Note: Material received from the applicant is only used for assessing the knowledge and experience of the applicant during the certification process. The representatives of certification body shall not use the material, any part of it or any reference to the material at any other circumstances. The received material is stored in a locked cabinet by the administrator of this certification process for the period of certificate being valid. After this period or in the case of unsuccessful certification process the material is destroyed. An organization involved in “sensitive” projects (i.e. defence, R&D or similar projects) whose project managers are prevented from submitting reports to external bodies can request special status.

Phase 3

The certification process is concluded with a two hour personal interview with the assessors. This is for clarifying remaining open issues (if any), presenting personal feedback to the applicant and for collecting feedback from the applicant. Specific instructions can be addressed to the applicant before the interview as/if necessary. The assessors will propose for an IPMA Level B certificate to be granted to each applicant completing this certification process. The certification body board of directors makes the final decision on granting the certificate.

Applicant has to be prepared to identify himself (identity card, driver’s licence or passport) in the interview.

Certification renewal

The IPMA Level B certificate is renewed through a continuous professional development program. This means the certificate holder must be able to demonstrate continued development in and practice of the certified project management principles at the relevant level. This may lead to candidacy in a higher-level project management certificate.

PRYSERT IPMA Level B certificates can be renewed by foreign certification bodies, and PRYSERT can renew foreign certification bodies’ IPMA Level B certificates.

The certificate renewal process starts with the submission of the updated application form (including CV), the updated project experience form and a new self-assessment form by the applicant:

  • The application form (including CV) comprises personal data, basic education, career history with task/responsibility descriptions, and competence development history including training or other educational activities relating to project management. The CV may be of free form, but must include a description of recertification applicant’s possible contribution to project management tools, techniques, methods, competence, etc. development.
  • The project experience form collects applicant’s project experience, including a chronological list of projects, programs and portfolios and the applicant’s roles and responsibilities in each one.
  • The self-assessment form addresses applicant’s knowledge and experience according to the framework presented in National Competence Baseline 3.0 and the competence level definitions on the self-assessment form.

The assessors will propose for a new IPMA Level B certificate to be granted to each certificate renewal applicant demonstrating continued development in and practice of the certified project management principles at the relevant level. The certification body board of directors makes the final decision on granting the certificate.

All required certificate renewal document templates, the National Competence Baseline 3.0 and the IPMA–certified individual’s ethical instructions are available at the Project Management Association Finland web site (www.pry.fi). If the submitted materials do not contain sufficient information, the entry requirements are not met, or the relevant instructions are not followed the applicant will not be allowed to enter the certificate renewal process.

The certificate renewal application must be submitted to the certification coordinator through e-mail

Member Nations Offering IPMA Level B, Certified Senior Project Manager

Note that some IPMA Member Associations have used their own title for each level of the IPMA 4-Level Certification for many years. we list them here by those titles. For others, the title is in their national language. Regardless of the title, all IPMA offerings for this level follow the IPMA Guidelines for the level. We list the links below, plus the titles if they differ from the IPMA default.

Austria: Senior Projektmanager. Canada. Croatia.Czech Republic.Finland: Sertifioitu ProjektinjohtajaGermany: Zertifizierter Senior Projektmanager. Greece. Guatemala:Director de Proyectos Certificado (DP).Hungary: Senior projektmenedzser. India. IslandItaly. Latvia. Netherlands: projectmanagement; programmamanagement. Nigeria.Poland. Russia. SerbiaSlovak RepublicIPMA stupeň B. Spain:IPMA Nivel B, Director de Proyectos. Sweden. Switzerland. Taiwan:Level B認證USA: Certified Program Manager; Certified Senior Project Manager

Level B Program Manager Certification

As shown in the list above, some Member Associations, in nations that have many Program Managers, also use IPMA Level B as the framework for certifying Program Managers. In that case, they may also use IPMA Level A as a framework for certification of Certified Senior Program Manager.

Project Management Complexity Evaluation

IPMA Member Associations all use a management complexity evaluation that is similar to the one described above, to determine whether the project(s) in the applicant’s certification portfolio qualify them for IPMA Level B, Certified Senior Project Manager. Most Member Associations use the evaluation internally; a few do share it with applicants. asapm, IPMA-USA shares theirs with applicants; see Evaluating Management Complexity on their website.