The IAPM – an agile project management association. How the IAPM works!

The IAPM – an agile project management association. How the IAPM works! 03.12.2014 - The IAPM is increasingly being discussed by other renowned project management organisations. This shows us that we are becoming more strongly perceived by the public and that we can no longer be ignored. Companies are showing more interest in the IAPM’s certifications and we are receiving certification enquiries daily.

In this process, our IAPM (Senior) Officials and our executives are being approached with important questions, most of which relate to the following subjects and are answered below:
  • The IAPM is a registered non-profit association. Does it have members and, if so, how can I become a member?

  • How are decisions made and what decision-making processes are in place? How can I/we/our company/our project influence decisions or developments at the IAPM?

  • Is the IAPM a global association?

  • Are IAPM certificates recognised by German and international employers?

  • The IAPM is a registered non-profit association. Does it have members and, if so, how can I become a member?

    The IAPM was established in 1997 as an international network for project managers who shared the desire to make things happen and change the project management landscape. In 2010 it was recognised and registered as a non-profit association. Right from the outset it was decided that the association wouldn’t have members who have to pay a membership fee. The IAPM’s motto is: anyone who wants to contribute is welcome to do so. Membership and membership fees aren’t necessary for this. Our officials organise a variety of interesting association events. Anyone who is interested in getting involved in the association can contact us by e-mail or phone to discuss the various options that are available. This ensures that everyone can contribute to the IAPM in their own way.

    The IAPM officials represent the IAPM in specific regions. They organise events, they are the people who companies can contact with enquires and they also contribute to the association’s activities by proposing their own ideas. The IAPM officials also receive extensive support from the association. They are provided with information materials and IAPM business cards. From the first Network Meeting onwards they receive marketing materials and they are obviously members of a global network – which offers a great many advantages.

    So the IAPM has all the benefits of an association that collects membership fees at no cost. Instead of an association newsletter, the IAPM publishes the “IAPM Flipboard Magazine” and “PM Pearls - Curated by IAPM (Scoop it)” on its website. The IAPM Xing group also posts regular project management hints, tips and news.

    The IAPM Network Meetings all over the world are generally free of charge and open to anyone who wants to extend his or her network, listen to exciting presentations and take part in exclusive guided tours. IAPM literature such as the PM Guide 2.0 or the Agile PM Guide 2.0 are also available to anyone free of charge.

    How are decisions made and what decision-making processes are in place? How can I/we/our company/our project influence decisions or developments at the IAPM?

    To understand the IAPM’s structures, you have to know what agile project management is because the IAPM is run according to agile project management principles. Any of the IAPM officials can make proposals that are discussed by the managing board. IAPM procedures are fast, which isn’t the norm at other associations of its size. One of the major strengths of the IAPM is that it is efficient, solution-oriented and results-oriented. New developments are immediately addressed and discussed, and the managing board makes fast decisions and ensures they are promptly implemented.

    Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the decision process. Even people who aren’t officials can make suggestions and put forward ideas at Network Meetings, or directly approach the managing board, which has an open door policy. The IAPM also holds annual meetings to which all officials are invited. At these meetings the developments over the past year are reviewed and future plans are made. The IAPM managing board treats everyone who is involved in the association as equals and it makes case-by-case decisions on budgets and feasibility. If a proposal is accepted, the budget is generally defined promptly so that it can be implemented.

    Here are a few examples of the IAPM’s management and decision-making processes:

  • In 2011 I was involved in a large-scale IT project within the scope of a management consultancy engagement. Numerous attempts to close out the project according to the Waterfall Model failed. Through my work in the USA, where agile project management is far more well-established than it is in other regions of the world such as Europe, I knew a famous Scrum coach. Thanks to his help, the project was closed out quickly with substantial cost savings. As a result, agile project management appeared on the IAPM’s radar. Six months later, the Agile PM Guide 2.0 was published and the examination for Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM) was online. The IAPM proved its agility by introducing a new process model in its certification repertoire within an incredibly short timeframe.

  • At a Network Meeting in the Metropolitan Area of Nuremberg, international project manager Harald Steinmüller provided an interesting and entertaining presentation entitled “Lost in Translation“. It was all about his experiences as a project manager in China, and he provided all manner of useful advice on how to live and successfully manage a project in a foreign culture. We realised that the subject of international project management wasn’t being properly addressed by the project management associations and decided we had to do something about it. The management board quickly decided to develop a certification for international project managers, Certified International Project Manager (IAPM). In close collaboration with international project managers, the International PM Guide 2.0, the basis for certification, was created.

  • Until recently, contracts with training partners included a passage that some trainers considered to be controversial. It was removed within days and all trainers were informed.

  • These are just three of many examples of how agile the IAPM is. Conflicts and proposals are dealt with and resolved efficiently. Decision making processes are transparent and all persons who work for the IAPM are kept up to date.

    Is the IAPM a global association?

    A world map is shown at The countries marked in red indicate the nationalities of IAPM certificate holders. They are distributed across all continents. By October 2014, people from 46 nations had taken IAPM online tests and certifications. The IAPM currently has officials and trainers from Europe, Africa, North America and South America.

    Are IAPM certificates recognised by German and international employers?

    The IAPM certifications are personal certifications, and the IAPM does not certify companies. So no information about the employer is recorded during the registration process. However, we can draw conclusions about the certificate takers’ employers on the basis of the e-mail addresses that they provide to us. For example, employees of ATOS, BFFT, Bosch Rexroth, Cortal Consors, Deutsche Bahn, Docwave, Evosoft, GEA Group, Gerresheimer, Hermes, KSPG Automotive, Linde, Rheinmetall, Siemens, Sparkassedirekt, Vacuumschmelze and Volkswagen have obtained certification from the IAPM. The initiative to obtain certification often comes from the companies’ HR departments, which indicates a high level of recognition for the IAPM certification model. Many companies have also published press releases on their employees’ certifications.

    The IAPM’s USPs are set out below:

  • The certification examinations can be taken online. This means that the date of the certification examination can be flexibly selected to suit the certification candidate and the company’s needs.

  • Online certification eliminates travel and overnight accommodation expenses.

  • The certificates are valid indefinitely, so there are no time-consuming recertification processes and the associated follow-up costs.

  • The certification fees are geared to the gross domestic product of the country where the certificate candidate has citizenship. This ensures that people who live in countries with weaker economies have a viable opportunity to obtain certification.

  • If you have any suggestions on how we can improve in future or would like to get involved in the IAPM, we’d like to meet you.


    Dr Hans Stromeyer
    President of the IAPM International Association of Project Managers

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