Frequently Asked Questions

Questions: You Asked, We Answer!

1. What’s this double arrow all about? IPMA arrows
2. Why did you change your public branding to IPMA-USA? We liked asapm!
3. How does one pronounce IPMA?
4. Who is behind this organization? One must be careful these days!
5. Why should I join IPMA-USA? I already belong to another PM organization.


1. What’s this double arrow all about?
Good question! It is part of the official IPMA logo, and has many other uses. IPMA's slogan is "Moving Forwardf," so it shows that forward movement. However, it was not until five years after IPMA adopted it that we made an observation. Most of the time when you see that double arrow, it means fast forward. Thus, you have learned another IPMA secret: We don't tell others that we are really moving Fast Forward!

2. Why did you change your public branding to IPMA-USA? We liked asapm!
We like asapm too! In fact, our legal name remains asapm--the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management. We have been asapm for over 15 years, and IPMA's USA member (IPMA-USA) for the last 10+ years. As we add even more of IPMA's services to our offerings (such as the IPMA Project Excellence Awards), our board has voted to align with the global branding of IPMA, and use the IPMA-USA brand in all of our public media--starting with this website.

3. How does one pronounce IPMA?
Just as there are different flavors of project management, there are different ways of saying our name. Here are popular variations.

  • Spell it out: I-P-M-A-U-S-A. That communicates well, across multiple cultures. But it is a little slow! Seven syllables takes a lot of time!
  • Shorten it: IP-MA-U-S-A. That saves 38% of your time; after all, project and program management is all about being efficient and effective!
  • What is  your answer?

4. >Who is behind this organization? One must be careful these days!
asapm, the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management, now publicly branded as IPMA-USA, began as a concept in late 1999, as a thought-leadership group of pm practitioners who did the most to advance the practice of project management from the mid-1970s through the late 1990s. We observed that the rate of advancement had slowed over the previous ten years, and explored the reasons why. Especially disconcerting was the fact that the challenges of our practice were increasing faster than our ability to deal with them.

Among those who led the challenge for advancing our practice for the new millennium were Lew Ireland, who wrote the first pm certification exam in 1982, and shepherded the governance changes in the largest pm association. Bill Duncan, who was the primary author of the guide to the project management body of knowledge, 1996. Bob Youker, who worked through the World Bank to provide training to tens of thousands of project managers, stakeholders and government officials in developing countries. And a handful of eager participants who had established chapters for other organizations, and taught tens of thousands of practitioners the secrets to project and program success.

This group recruited a dozen other thought leaders, mostly highly experienced global practitioners, who added their insights to the core team. After 1.5 years of planning meetings, this group "went live" on July 4, 2001, with a mandate to accelerate the advancement of project management —not just in the USA, but worldwide. Worldwide, those who knew of the founders' achievements and impact, and who shared the vision for the practice's potential, joined us. Within five years, we had caused more progress in our key areas of need than we had seen in the preceding ten years. Interestingly, those changes were embraced in other professional organizations as well. Today, most of those founding group members remain involved in key roles in IPMA-USA—although we regret the demise of our long-time President, Lew Ireland.

5. Why should I join IPMA-USA? I already belong to another PM organization?
Many of the rest of us also contribute to other professional organizations. In fact, some of us helped those organizations achieve the level of success they enjoy today. However, we believe that any industry dominated by a monopoly is destined to decline.

Inspired by our initiatives, other organizations have made significant improvements since we came on the scene. We might take partial credit for some of them, through our thought leadership, and just by establishing an alternative. However, astute boards and Executive Directors deserve most of the credit.

Our industry requires the innovations, fresh thoughts and agile perspectives to avoid the “dark ages” of tiny advancements we saw in other failed disciplines. Thus we brought these perspectives to a profession that had seen little real intellectual progress in the previous 10 years. Curious, because there have been massive business climate and societal changes in that time.

The bottom line: You should join IPMA-USA and engage in our volunteer efforts for several reasons:
1) To truly advance the profession and help society, and

2) To improve your personal satisfaction that you have done what you can to help the PM Practice.