Introduction to Professionalism


Professionalism is the application of expert and specialised knowledge within a specific field and the acceptance of standards relating to that profession.


All professions have similar features. They can be summarised as follows:

  • a profession creates and owns a distinctive, relevant body of knowledge;
  • members of the profession need to attain a level of skill and continue to practise and apply themselves to on-going learning in order to maintain appropriate skills;
  • individual members should follow a code of professional ethical conduct and behave in an appropriate manner;
  • members of the profession should seek to act in the public interest;a profession should award certificates to practice, based on examination of individuals’ competence.

Responsibility for developing and maintaining a profession occurs at three levels: institutional, organisational and individual. In P3 management, at the institutional level, the APM has a framework with five dimensions:

Breadth – the scope of P3 management as defined by the APM Body of Knowledge;

Depth – the skills and behaviours required as defined by the APM Competence Framework;

Achievement – the provision of APM qualifications;

Commitment – CPD throughout a career;

Accountability – adherence to the APM Code of Professional Conduct.

The publications, qualifications and activities of APM are all designed to support the APM 5 Dimensions of Professionalism. At the organisational level, companies, government departments and other types of organisations need to provide support and governance for all those involved in projects, programmes and portfolios. This will include well-defined career paths, education programmes and communities of practice.

At an individual level, those working as professionals on projects, programmes and portfolios need to take responsibility for their own development and behaviour. This includes education and training to develop knowledge and promote competence, professional behaviour to promote trust, and continuing professional development to demonstrate commitment.


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