IPMA 4 Level Certification (4 LC)

IPMA’s 4 Level Certification (4LC) System in Project Management is a Globally recognized Certification, uniquely designed to cover the Complete Career Path of a project professional. It is the only Internationally recognized Certification System in Project Management, based on Competences.

The System comprises 4 separate value-added Assessment formats based on the role, and experience profile, to ensure effective Competence development and assessment of Project Professionals at all Levels within the organization.

There are 4 levels in the IPMA 4LC System, Levels A, B, C and D, and every step of the 4 Level Competence stair incorporates adequate development in self-knowledge and verified competence

Worldwide, the IPMA certifications are based on the global competence standard ICB. This standard is defined by the IPMA and describes the competences that project, programme and portfolio managers should possess. IPMA’s Individual Competence Baseline (ICB 4) is the latest global standard that identifies and defines 29 PM Competences in the 3 Areas - Perspective, People and Practice

Within the IPMA 4 Level Certification, the ICB 4 serves as the baseline for assessments.

ABOUT PMA Cert

PMA India has designated “PMA Cert” as its Certification Body (CB) for IPMA 4 Level Certification System in India and to meet the requirements of the IPMA International Certification Regulations (ICR).

IPMA Certifications for project management are exclusively administered and awarded in India and neighbouring countries by PMA Cert.

Certified Professionals IPMA 4 Level Certification (4 LC):

There are 4 levels of certification in the IPMA 4 LC System:
Levels A, B, C and D. The IPMA level definitions are constructed against the following core criteria:

A

LEVEL

Level A is constructed in terms of the leadership of others in very complex projects throughout the life cycle at a strategic level. This also applies to portfolio and program management roles and life cycles (where applicable).

B

LEVEL

Level B is constructed in terms of the leadership of others in complex projects throughout the life cycle. This also applies to portfolio and program management roles and life cycles (where applicable).

C

LEVEL

PrLevel C is constructed in terms of the management of others in projects of moderate complexity throughout the life cycle through the application of knowledge/theory across all relevant competences.

D

LEVEL

Level D is constructed in terms of knowledge across all relevant competences only.

The 8 profiles in the IPMA 4 LC system

LEVEL A

(CERTIFIED PROJECT DIRECTOR)

LEVEL A

(CERTIFIED PROGRAMME DIRECTOR)

LEVEL A

(CERTIFIED PORTFOLIO DIRECTOR)

LEVEL B

(CERTIFIED SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER)

LEVEL B

(CERTIFIED SENIOR PROGRAMME MANAGER)

LEVEL B

(CERTIFIED SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER)

LEVEL C

(CERTIFIED PROJECT MANAGER)

LEVEL D

(CERTIFIED PROJECT MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATE)

Each profile has associated role descriptions and eligibility criteria:

IPMA Level A

Certified Project Director
Role Description
  • Acting on a very strategic level within a very complex project environment
  • Responsible for a very complex project which has a strategic impact on the organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 15 years’ experience as a project manager in a responsible leadership function in very complex projects of which at least 10 years were at a strategic level.
Certified Programme Director
Role Description
  • Acting on a very strategic level within a very complex project environment
  • Responsible for a very complex project which has a strategic impact on the organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 15 years’ experience as a programme manager in a responsible leadership function in very complex programmes of which at least 10 years were at a strategic level.
Certified Portfolio Director
Role Description
  • Acting on a very strategic level within a very complex project environment
  • Responsible for a very complex project which has a strategic impact on the organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 15 years’ experience as a portfolio manager in a responsible leadership function in very complex portfolios of which at least 10 years were at a strategic level.
Certified Senior Project Manager
Role Description
  • Acting in a complex project environment
  • Responsible for a complex project within the organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience as a project manager of which at least 6 years were in a responsible leadership function managing complex projects
Certified Senior Programme Manager
Role Description
  • Acting in a complex programme environment
  • Responsible for a complex programme within an organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience as a programme manager of which at least 6 years were in a responsible leadership function managing complex programmes
Certified Senior Portfolio Manager
Role Description
  • Acting in a complex portfolio environment
  • Responsible for a complex portfolio within an organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience as a portfolio manager of which at least 6 years were in a responsible leadership function managing complex portfolios
Certified Project Manager
Role Description
  • Acting in a complex environment
  • Responsible in a project management role with moderate complexity within an organization
Eligibility
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience as a project manager of which at least 3 years were in a responsible leadership function managing projects of moderate complexity
Certified Project Management Associate
Role Description
  • Knowledge in Competence elements related to project management
  • Has broad project management knowledge and may work in a project team
Eligibility
  • Project Management experience desirable
There are 10 complexity indicators which cover the areas of capability, context and management/leadership based complexities as given below.
Capability based indicators
  • Objectives and assessment of results (output related complexity)
  • Processes, methods, tools and techniques (process related complexity)
  • Resources including finance (input related complexity)
  • Risk and opportunities (risk related complexity)
Context based indicators
  • Stakeholders and integration (strategy related complexity)
  • Relations with permanent organizations (organization related complexity)
  • Cultural and social context (Socio cultural complexity)
Management and leadership based indicators
  • Leadership, teamwork and decisions (team related complexity)
  • Degree of innovation and general conditions (innovation related complexity)
  • Demand for coordination (autonomy related complexity) Each complexity indicator is scored as follows for a project, programme or portfolio:
  • Very low complexity – score of 1
  • Low complexity – score of 2
  • High complexity – score of 3
  • Very high complexity – score of 4

The scores are added up to obtain an overall complexity score for each project, programme or portfolio.

The Assessors will only accept evidence from projects, programmes and portfolios that meet the minimum complexity requirements for the level for which the candidate has applied for.

IPMA Level → Level A Level B Level C Level D
Path → 1 2 1 2 1 2 N/A
Stage Step
1 Application R R R R
CV R R R N/A
Executive Summary Report R R R N/A
Full Self-assessment R R R N/A
Knowledge Self-assessment N/A N/A N/A R
Referees R R R N/A
2 Exam ← N/A R R R
3 Report ←
a PDR ← R N/A N/A N/A
b CPR+complexity evaluation sheet ← NA R N/A N/A
c PR ← N/A N/A R N/A
4 Extended Interview ← R N/A R N/A R N/A N/A
Simulation / Role Based Scenario ← N/A R N/A R N/A R N/A
(Regular) Interview ← N/A R N/A R N/A R N/A
5 Final Evaluation R R R R
Decision R R R R
Certificate R R R R
Feedback R R R R
Archiving R R R R
Legend:
R = Required
C = On request of Candidate
N/A = Not applicable & shall not be requested
← = If deemed not yet competent in first attempt, step can be repeated once

Table 1

Level A

Level B

Level C

Level D

Steps: Initial Certification Process A B C D
Application R R R R
CV R R R
Executive Summary Report R R R
Full Self Assessment R R R
Knowledge Self Assessment R
Referees R R R
Exam R R R
Report R R
Path 1: Extended Interview R R R
Path 2: Simulation Scenario O O O
Path 2: Regular Interview
Final Evaluation R R R R
Decision & Issue of Certificate R R R R
Feedback R R R R
Appeal C C C C
Archiving R R R R

Table 2

Legend

R – Required | C – On request of the Candidate |O – Optional (to be decided by PMA Cert) | – Not Applicable and shall not be requested For the candidate to be awarded an IPMA certificate, they shall have successfully completed each of the assessment steps within 18 months from the date of acceptance of their application.

Candidate failure on initial certification

Candidates are permitted to retake the specified parts of the assessment once if they are unsuccessful in their first attempt within the scope of the same application for which additional administration fee will have to be paid for re-taking a specific element. If they fail to pass the step in their second attempt, the final evaluation will be ‘not yet competent’.

The IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (ICB Ver 4) is the standard for certification and is used for the assessment of candidates by PMA Cert. The IPMA ICB has 29 Competence Elements (CEs), each of which has a number of Key Competence Indicators (KCIs).

  • Level A requires a candidate to demonstrate evidence of 80% of the domain CEs defined in the ICB, in a very complex environment
  • Level B requires a candidate to demonstrate evidence of 80% of the domain CEs defined in the ICB, in a complex environment.
  • Level C requires a candidate to demonstrate evidence of 80% of the domain CEs defined in the ICB, in a moderately complex environment.
  • Level D requires a candidate to demonstrate knowledge of 80% of the domain CEs defined in the ICB.
People competences: Practice competences: Perspective competences:
1. Self-reflection and self-management 1. A project, programme or portfolio Design 1. The Strategy
2. Personal integrity and reliability 2. Goals, objectives and benefits 2. Governance, structures and processes
3. Personal communication 3. Scope 3. Compliance, standards and regulations
4. Relations and engagement 4. Time 4. The informal Power and interest
5. Leadership 5. Organization and information 5. The culture and values
6. Teamwork 6. Quality
7. Conflict and crisis 7. Finance
8. Resourcefulness 8. Resources
9. Negotiation 9. Procurement
10. Results orientation 10. Plan and control
11. 11. Risk and opportunity
12. 12. Stakeholders
13. 13. Change and transformation
14. 14. Select and balance
Assessors interview time per Candidate Level A Level B Level C
Duration 90 minutes 90 minutes 60 minutes
Assessors extended Interview time per Candidate 120 minutes 120 minutes 90 minutes

Application

  • PMA Cert Form No: PCF01

SELF-ASSESSMENT

  • PMA Cert Form No: PCF02

CV (MUST INCLUDE)

  • Name and contact details of applicant
  • A career history showing:
  • Project, programme and portfolio roles and positions held,
  • Degrees and course work from accredited institutions of higher learning,
  • Professional certifications and qualifications
  • Project, programme and portfolio management training
  • Professional memberships and
  • Other Professional Development (PD) including awards, achievements or publications in project, programme or portfolio management.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY REPORT

  • Max 15 pgs (Max. 2-3 pgs for each project and max. 6 projects) regarding the candidates’ suitability for assessment based on the eligibility criteria and must include:
  • Organization (company details, industry and project types, principal objectives of the organization and business unit the applicant works in)
  • A one page summary for each of the project (s) / programme (s) / portfolio (s) with related time schedules and phases and resources available to them
  • The role of the applicant (an organization chart with their position identified, their area of responsibility, an overview of the Project Management procedures they use, their relationship with internal and external stakeholders)
  • For Levels A and B, a description of how they have led each project project/portfolio/programme and how they meet the complexity criteria for the level being applied for noting that these details shall be used by the candidate as the basis for the Report and
  • For Level C, a description of how they have managed each project and how they meet the complexity criteria.

REFEREES

  • At least 2 professional referees who are familiar with the applicant’s eligible work experience.

ELIGIBILITY CHECK

  • Based on the evidence provided by the applicant, PMA Cert shall inform the applicant of its decision to accept or reject an application

EXAMS

  • Candidates score shall be based on the number of correct answers.
  • There will be no deduction for wrong answers and unanswered questions will be treated as wrong answers.

REPORT

  • For Levels A and B, candidates shall submit a report covering their project (s), programme (s) or portfolio (s), related to the same as those described in the Executive Summary Report provided in the Candidates’ application. The level of complexity described in the report shall correspond to the level applied for.
  • Report shall be max. 25 pages with additional 15 pages for the appendices and Font size 11 points.
  • The following shall be covered:

    • Background: Detailed description of the project/programme or portfolio role in context, key stakeholders, scope and key objectives, project/programme/portfolio organization and the associated resources that the candidate is responsible for (max. 3 pgs including graphics)
    • Project/programme/portfolio management challenges: The candidate shall provide an overview of management challenges throughout the period of the project/programme or portfolio role related to the chosen Competence Elements and level being applied for. The report shall address the candidates’ experience of
      1. their management and leadership challenges with respect to others,
      2. how these were acted upon and the results achieved and 3) a reflection on the results and lessons learnt.

SIMULATION/ROLE BASED SCENARIO (LEVELS A, B

  • The candidates are presented with a situation and asked to undertake tasks corresponding to the relevant role (project, programme or portfolio) and level (A, B or C), while being observed by the Assessors.

INTERVIEWS (A, B and C – PATH 2)

  • Regular interview (Path 2) – Assessors interview time per Candidate
  • Level A 90 minutes
  • Level B 90 minutes
  • Level C 60 minutes

INTERVIEWS (A, B and C – PATH 1)

  • Extended interview (Path 1) – Assessors interview time per Candidate:
  • Level A 120 minutes
  • Level B 120 minutes
  • Level C 90 minutes

FINAL EVALUATION & DECISION (ALL LEVELS)

  • Head, PMA Cert will give the decision based on the final evaluation, in writing.

FINAL EVALUATION & DECISION (ALL LEVELS)

  • Head, PMA Cert will give the decision based on the final evaluation, in writing.

CERTIFICATE (ALL LEVELS)

  • PMA Cert will issue the certificate and register it in PMA Cert as well as IPMA databases.
  • The Certificate will have a validity of 5 years from the date of issue and will expire 5 years later less one day from the date of issue. The Candidates are advised to get their certificates renewed at the same level or certification at a new level is required. The candidate is made aware that the misuse or making of false or misleading statements about their content, validity or duration will result in immediate withdrawal of the certificate by PMA Cert.
  • PMA Cert makes the certificate holder aware that the information will be published on the IPMA website as public information, unless the candidate objects in writing to PMA Cert.

FEEDBACK (ALL LEVELS)

  • The feedback questionnaire, about their experiences concerning the initial certification process, is available for all candidates. PMA Cert uses the completed questionnaire for the purpose of continuous improvement.
Level A Level B Level C Level D
Domain-related experience required by the Applicant Minimum evidence of 30 months of practical experience over 5 year period Not applicable
Complexity Not applicable
Leadership of others Management of others Not applicable
Minimum of 35 hours’ evidence of CPD per annum (175 hours total) since the last (re-certification)

Legend: CPD – Continued Professional Development

Steps: Re-Certification Process A B C D
1 Application R R R R
CV R R R R
Full Self Assessment R R R R
Structured Evidence R R R R
Referees R R R R
2 Interview A A A A
3 Final Evaluation R R R R
Decision & Issue of Certificate R R R R
Feedback R R R R
Archiving R R R R

STRUCTURED EVIDENCE

  • In addition to CV evidence, the certificate holder shall provide sufficient evidence that they have undertaken a minimum of 35 hours’ CPD per annum since their last certification.
  • The Applicant shall provide details of referees who can be contacted to verify their continued level of engagement within project, programme or portfolio management.
  • The CPD record must contain the following as a minimum:
  • Name of development activity
  • Description of the activity
  • Dates undertaken and hours claimed
  • CEs covered by the activity and
  • A summary statement reflecting on their learning from the CPD gained over the period and how they benefitted

INTERVIEW

  • PMA Cert may make the decision if the interview (no longer than 1 hour in total) takes place based on the assessors’ recommendation and evidence sought and ask the applicant to present additional evidence sought at interview

COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS

  • All complaints and appeals are handled and processed within a 3 month period from the date of receipt of a written complaint or appeal. Applicants and Candidates may file an appeal in writing with the CB within 30 days from their certification decision.
CERTIFICATION FEE
LEVEL Fee (in INR)
IPMA Level A 1,25,000/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level B 68,750/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level C 55,400/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level D 29,000/- (plus GST @ 18 %)
RE-CERTIFICATION FEE
LEVEL Fee (in INR)
IPMA Level A 25,000/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level B 15,000/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level C 10,000/- (plus GST @ 18%)
IPMA Level D 7,000/- (plus GST @ 18 %)
Note: One does not have to be a member of PMA India to apply for certification.