The True Profession
A true "professions" certification must embrace all of knowledge,
ethics, competency and law. But how to bell the cat and measure competency? Certification
must ensure that a candidate has been examined for knowledge, competency and
practices within an ethical and legal framework. A legal structure must be present
that sees the purpose of any credentialing authority as protecting the interests
of the general public.
No matter what the profession, a professional body of practitioners is made
up of three bodies, each a separate and sovereign entity focused on a different
"craft" responsibility. These are:
- License to Practice
- Discipline Advocacy
- Commercial Support
The first requires a separate, usually State sponsored, accrediting authority
that ensures the profession is conducted for the public good. The problem is
one of "quis custodiat", that is, who polices the police? In North
America, this authority is usually provided through some form of national legislation
and a licensing authority
The second is Discipline Advocacy. This is the role currently filled by national
project management entities such as the Association for Project Management, the
International Project Management Association, the Project Management Institute
and other national sovereign organizations in Europe, Australia and South Africa.
The Chapters or Branches of these national entities provide advocacy of the project
management discipline in full measure.
The third is the Commercial Support entity. This is separate but inextricably
bound up with the parent Discipline Advocacy organization. This entity provides
a commercial arm that permits the separation of product marketing from disciple
development. Only the Association for Project Management has furthered this separation.
Much more can be said on each of these divisions of a professional body. What
is clear is that organizational confusion is present in any national project
management body of practitioners that fail to clearly delineate these responsibilities,
and set out proper mandates for each.