In the previous two installments of this series, we discussed the role of enterprise project management (EPM) in the success of the organization and methods to assess and improve the implementation of project management initiatives. In this article, we will focus on the lead character in the project management journey: the project manager.

Without the project manager, initiatives to transform your organization into a highly effective and successful enterprise will be derailed. The project manager is the maestro of the orchestra ensemble. He will not only bring into play each of your installers at exactly the right moment, and guide them to perform at their best, he will also do so in a manner in which your customer will enjoy and appreciate. Your project manager is critical to your company’s successful performance.

Finding and developing great managers for your projects is one of the greatest obstacles facing security dealers and integrators. You will be entrusting them to promote project excellence on each and every project, one project at a time, culminating in a portfolio of successful projects that lead to healthy bottom-line results for the company. In essence, they will act as business owners and shrewd contractors to balance the needs of the project’s goals and all the stakeholders. In short, effective project managers possess a combination of talent, training, and responsibility, which is very difficult to find and foster.

Project management certification, done properly, would offer a vehicle to promote professional excellence in the security industry, to ensure trust is placed in the right people, and to provide a desirable career path for individuals.

Current Certification Trends

Have you ever wondered what all those initials (CPP, PE, CPA, PMP, etc.) after everyone’s name means? You know it must be significant, or they would not bother placing them there in the first place. The initials do stand for something. They stand for excellence. Specifically, they signify a certification of excellence. Each group of initials indicates the individual has undergone a process by which the certifying organization can state with confidence that, “yes, this person is known to us to excel in the area in which we are certifying him or her.”

There are hundreds of organizations in the world that provide certification programs in fields ranging from IT to fitness instructors. In the field of project management, there are just a few globally accepted organizations that sponsor project management certification programs.

The most widely recognized are the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the International Project Management Association (IPMA). In addition, the Security Industry Association (SIA), Alexandria, Va., has a new certification program specifically designed for security project managers. Following is a description of each of these programs.

Project Management Institute (PMI):

PMI launched the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 1984. PMP has become the project management of choice for many industries and organizations. It is one of the most widely accepted certification programs to measure project management skills.

After meeting specific educational and experience requirements, a candidate will need to complete and pass a rigorous 200 question multiple choice questions exam

The PMP covers topics based on PMI’s Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) and is not industry specific.

PMI is in the process of launching a new certification program in 2004 called Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) for individuals who play a “supportive” role to the project manager. For additional information contact PMI at

International Project Management Association (IPMA)

IPMA was started in 1965 as a forum for the exchange of experience amongst project managers of international projects. The IPMA membership consists of thirty national project management associations. These associations serve the specific needs of project management professionals in their own country and their own languages.

IPMA follows four levels of certifications. The main requirements for each level are derived from “typical” activities, responsibilities and requirements, taken from professional practice.

The four levels of certification are as follows:

• IPMA Level A: Certified Project Director.

• IPMA Level B: Certified Project Manager.

• IPMA Level C: Certified Project Management Professional.

• IPMA Level D: Certified Project Management Practitioner.

IPMA owns and maintains its universal system for validating the national programs that coordinate and harmonize the certifications to follow general structures and principles. The national organizations, within the different countries, are responsible for developing and managing their own project management qualifications and competences and for establishing their certification bodies. For additional information you can reach IPMA at http://www.IPMA.CH.

Security Industry Association (SIA)

Whereas the above referenced certification programs are comprehensive and widely accepted, they do not address the real-life practical aspect of managing specific industries, such as the security industry.

For many years, security dealers, integrators and others within the industry have expressed the urgent need to properly train and nurture the security project manager. The SIA, following specific feedback received from their Corporate Security Roundtable Forum, has undertaken the task of developing and promoting a certification and training development program, specifically designed for the practicing security project manager. The program is called the Security Project Manager (SPM) Certification and is being officially rolled out in March 2004 at ISC West.

The goal of this program is to develop, evaluate, and administer a thorough examination and experience-based professional credentials program for project managers within the security industry community.

SPM Background

SIA formed an advisory board of subject matter experts to act as a professional committee to provide expert advise and counsel for the design, development and delivery of the SPM program.

The advisory board members consist of well-respected and experienced security professionals that represent the key stakeholders on a typical security project. The advisory board members have backgrounds in corporate security, consulting, security integration, operations, and project management.

The SPM certification program followed a well thought-out methodology to ensure relevance, completeness, and fairness in the deployment and administration of the certification program.

Defining the job analysis was completed in two stages. The first stage was to collect and describe the SPM’s job information. This process included analysis of job documentation, interviews, observation and questionnaires using the expert’s judgment and input. The second stage was to validate the job description. This involved preparing a task inventory list based on items a security project manager is expected to possess and perform on a typical security project.

The purpose of the examination is to make a decision of a pass or fail to be made about an individual candidate based, in part, upon test performance. The decision is based on a specified level of competence as a security project manager. The examination portion of the SPM certification consists of multiple choice questions covering all aspect of the security project manager job analysis (description). The content of the examination is based on the security project manager’s knowledge, skills and abilities.

How does SPM differ from the others?

Although SPM follows the general structure and principles of a typical certification program – such as meeting educational and experiential requirements, successfully completing specific training programs and passing a final assessment examination – it is unique in its approach in addressing the needs of its target audience.

Differences are apparent in that SPM requires candidates to have specific experience in managing security projects. SPM also requires successful candidates to demonstrate basic knowledge of security topics including:

• technical knowledge of CCTV and access control systems;

• general knowledge of life safety codes, specifically means of egress and ADA requirements; and

• contract law, liens, and claims.

The final certification assessment process consists of three components. Instead of passing one multiple choice examination, SPM requires the successful candidate to achieve a passing grade based on a weighted average of the following:

• individual end-of-course examination results;

• final multiple choice questions examination result; and

• portfolio assessment content.

The SPM was designed to fulfill the practical day-to-day needs of security project managers that other project management certification programs do not provide.

In order to meet the specialized development and training needs of the security project manager, SIA is co-sponsoring a comprehensive training program designed specifically for the planning and execution of security projects.

This training program consists of 40 contact hours and 20 hours of self-study courses covering the following topics:

• security project management principles and applications;

• estimating and financial aspects of security projects;

• contracting law, codes, and risk management;

• CCTV and access control systems design and applications; and

• managing the project team.

SPM Program Benefits

The SPM program is primarily designed for the welfare of the SPM and to ultimately promote project management excellence within the security industry.

It also provides valuable benefits for security dealers, integrators, end-users, and consultants, as well security equipment manufacturers.

The SPM certification and training programs will provide SPM’s with career enhancement and improved job satisfaction, recognition of professional achievement, and security industry acceptance.

The security dealer and integrator benefits from significant financial results through improved project performance, a competitive advantage both professionally and financially, excellent training return-on-investment, an improved professional image, and improved customer satisfaction

End user and security consultants gain from an effective qualification tool, improved project execution delivery, and better “sell-through.”

Finally, the manufacturers will see strengthened partnerships with security integrators and end-users as well as opportunities to sponsor the training program and provide valuable assistance to their security dealers and integrators. And well-managed projects reflect positively on the “make” of systems installed.

For additional information about the SPM program contact SIA at