Practical Certification in Project Management: The three dimensions of competency

The Project Manager Competency Development Framework (PMCDF) of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) describes the knowledge, performance and personal competencies needed to manage projects effectively. The Practical Certification Programme (PCP) supports your development in all three dimensions.


Knowledge refers to what you know about applying Project Management processes, tools and techniques in project.

Regular Project Management training is designed only to provide the knowledge component, enabling you to pass an exam. But exams don’t necessarily test knowledge, and passing an exam doesn’t attest to your ability to do the job. In fact, in a survey about the value of the PMI®‘s PMP® certification, the “results indicated that PMP® certification was the least valued of 15 core competencies and that there was no difference in project success rates between PMP®-certified project managers and uncertified project managers.”

Read in context at:
Starkweather, J. & Stevenson, D. H. (2011). PMP® Certification as a Core Competency: Necessary But Not Sufficient. Project Management Journal, 42(1), 31–41

The PMI® explains that “in order to be recognised as fully competent, a project manager must satisfy each of these three dimensions.”


Performance describes how you apply the knowledge to meet the requirements of real projects.

2014-08-cpt-03The Practical Certification Programme (PCP) is different from PMP® exam preparation training, because it is designed to help you in your actual work.

In Module 3 of the PCP, you work with your own real projects, and produce a portfolio of evidence showing what you’ve managed to achieve using your specific skills. Your Practical Certificate is therefore customised to attest to the nature of your own work, and as such is not a one-size-fits-all standards-based certificate. It includes a report by a SAQA-accredited Assessor.

The PCP references standards such as the PMBOK® Guide and PRINCE2®, and it includes an international exam, but this exam is not the main focus of the programme. The PCP is different, relevant and remarkable, and takes a uniquely personalised approach to outcomes-based certification.


Personal competencies can be seen in how you behave when doing the actual work in a project environment.

Naturally, employers and clients are explicitly seeking project managers and support staff who have the necessary performance and personal attributes! Developing those attributes means changing your thinking and behaviour. It is in Module 2 of the PCP particularly where you will start working on this area.


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