The culmination of nearly 20 years' worth of work, the Association for Project Management (APM), the U.K. arm of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) has been awarded "Chartered Status". This is a ground-breaking feat that sets the stage for future changes in Canada and around the world.

To practice many professions in the U.K., one needs, essentially, a license to practice. These "licenses" are granted by chartered bodies to members who are able to demonstrate adequate levels of knowledge and competence. A Canadian example would be a Chartered Accountant -- no one can call themselves a Chartered Accountant except someone who has received their "license" to practice as such.

In the U.K., the Queen awarded the APM a charter a few months ago. The transition to a chartered profession will be phased in over the rest of this year, culminating in the offering of a "Chartered Project Manager" qualification to the APM's members. No one in the U.K. will be able to call themselves a "Chartered Project Manager" except those who have attained the highest level of standards in the country. Once this is fully in place, and a couple of years have passed, one would imagine that major projects would only be available to Chartered Project Managers. Think about how Chartered Surveyors, Chartered Accountants, etc. have dominated their professions. Sure, you may have a bookkeeper to do the mundane accounting data entry for your business, but you will hire a Chartered Accountant to prepare your corporate tax filings. The same will likely happen to project managers in the U.K.: to work at the highest levels, on the most interesting projects, one may need to have achieved chartered status first.

This is a big threat to PMI, as being a PMI member or achieving the PMP credential in the U.K. may soon no longer be relevant for gaining employment or progressing through one's career. In future years, if this trend catches on in other Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, then obtaining competence-based qualifications, like those available from the Project Management Association of Canada (PMAC) may be more important than attaining knowledge-based credentials from PMI. While it is still too soon to tell where this is headed, the first inroads have been made in the U.K. and many in the profession are eager to see what the future holds in store for Chartered Project Managers.

Procept has a few APM members in its lineup of instructors and one — Kevin Aguanno — is a Fellow of the APM, the association's highest honour.