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November 25, 2008 Vol. 1, Issue 11


As projects have become increasingly international, some organizations have looked to the open source movement as a model for developing common global standards for project management.

Like any global profession, project management faces a challenge of defining and maintaining standards that transcend national and organizational boundaries. The Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS) grew out of a desire among some organizations to create standards that are freely available and independent of proprietary standards. According to Dr. Lynn Crawford of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, GAPPS is set to become “the Linux of project/program management competency development.”

A key to understanding GAPPS is the Crawford-Ishikura Factor Table for Evaluating Roles (CIFTER). This tool offers a framework for examining seven factors in order to differentiate project manager roles based on the complexity of the projects managed:

  1. Stability of the overall project context.
  2. Number of distinct disciplines, methods, or approaches involved in performing the project.
  3. Magnitude of legal, social, or environmental implications from performing the project.
  4. Overall expected financial impact (positive or negative) on the project’s stakeholders.
  5. Strategic importance of the project to the organization or organizations involved.
  6. Stakeholder cohesion regarding the characteristics of the product of the project.
  7. Number and variety of interfaces between the project and other organizational entities.

GAPPS also defines six “units of competency,” including: manage stakeholder relationships; manage development of the plan for the project; manage project progress; manage product acceptance; manage project transition; and evaluate and improve project performance.

GAPPS does not offer certification for organizations that chose to adopt its standards. As it explains on its website, “…GAPPS prefers to collaborate with rather than compete with the various credentialing bodies. In fact, most of the major credentialing organizations are GAPPS members.”

Read more about GAPPS.

Download the GAPPS standards for project managers.

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