Guide to Qualifications

There are three main professional bodies for project management who provide a range of project management best practice methodology, principles, qualifications, certifications and professional membership.  Some organisations adopt a set standard globally. Some adopt the most popular for their region, and some adopt the most popular for their industry sector. There is considerable overlap concerning what each of the three bodies considers as best practice project management.

The differences between the three bodies tend to be more related to the level, focus, breadth and depth of project management principles, processes, techniques and methods rather than there being any major conflicting views about best practice management. All methodologies have much to offer and they need to be assessed against the specific needs of an organisation and the projects it undertakes.

The three main bodies are:

Association for Project Management (APM) 

Based in the UK, the APM is a registered charity with over 21650 individual and 570 corporate members making it the largest professional body of its kind in Europe. As part of of its strategy to raise awareness and standards in the profession it is currently in the process of applying for a Royal Charter.

The APM is committed to develop and promote project and programme management through its five dimensions of professionalism – Breadth, depth, achievement, commitment, and accountability.

The APM’s mission statement is “To provide leadership to the movement of committed organisations and individuals who share our passion for improving project outcomes.”

The APM is the United Kingdom member association of The International Project Management Association. The IMPA promotes the profession of project, programme and portfolio management through a global, democratically-run federation of member associations in 55 countries.

APM’s qualifications demonstrate to your employer, clients and suppliers that you are a skilled and committed project professional. Through their alignment with IPMA’s 4 level Certification Programme they also provide recognition throughout the world.

APM qualifications are developed and based upon the APM Body of Knowledge, 6th edition using well-established project management knowledge.  Training and examinations are delivered through APM accredited training providers. (20/20 Business Insight can be found under their list of accredited providers).


The APMG-International is an award winning examination institute. APMG  accredits professional training and consulting organisations, and manages certification schemes for knowledge-based workers, and has a global reach, with offices located around the world.

APMG-International’s aim is to provide consistent quality and support to training and consulting organizations, whether they are operating globally or as a specialist local provider. APMG-International’s rigorous assessment process is recognized throughout the world. To ensure independence and commitment to quality standards, APMG-International do not provide training directly, but through a network of Accredited Training Providers.

PRINCE2® (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored and scalable method for the management of all types of projects. The method is the de-facto standard for IT project management in the UK and is widely adopted in government and public sector bodies. Training and examinations are delivered through APMG-International accredited training organisations. (20/20 Business Insight can be found under their accredited training organisations). Global Headquarters are based in the UK.

Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Project Management Institute is a not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI delivers widely recognized standards, certifications, resources, tools, academic research, publications, professional development courses, and networking opportunities. The Project Management Institute’s process driven “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition” is the U.S/ANSI standard for project management. This standard presents generally recognized good practices and reflects continually evolving knowledge, and while the terminology and methodology used is different in part to the APM, both demonstrate best practice.

Training is delivered through PMI Registered Education Providers and examinations are delivered through separate approved assessment centres. PMI is headquartered in the USA.

What are the benefits of achieving a Project Management Qualification or Certification? CLICK HERE for benefits to the individual and the organisation.


APM, PMI or PRINCE2®?This usually depends upon where you and your organisation are based geographically. The APM is mainly UK based but increasing within Europe, PRINCE2® is mainly across Europe and the PMI is US based. The PMI tends to be most globally recognised.

You should also consider the relevance to your own organisation or industry sector.

  • Is APM,PRINCE2®, or PMI already being deployed in your organisation?
  • Which project management approach or method is most common with clients and suppliers?
  • APM’s Bok provides broadest range of project management topics including both soft and hard skills. It provides framework, principles and rational for each critical area of project management, but not a prescribed method.
  • PMI’s PMBOK provides core processes for project management and also incorporates professional responsibility of practitioners.
  • PRINCE2® provides a process-driven structured method for project management.

20|20 run a one day Which Pathway? Workshop which will examine each option and help you evaluate key requirements for your own organisation and projects, and consider the relevance to your own organisation and industry. CLICK HERE for further information.

Contact our business support teams to find out how we can help optimise your project and people performance:


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+44 (0)808 168 2020 (local rate)


For further information about 20|20 Business Insight project management training courses or consulting services, follow these links:
Project Management Training courses – full course calendar
Project Management Consulting Services



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