In early 2007, a number of NGOs, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Care, World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, CRS, Plan International, Mercy Corps, asked LINGOs , a capacity building organization specializing in NGO development, to develop appropriate project management learning materials for the NGO sector.

Thanks to a grant from the Project Management Institute, LINGOs set up a working group of NGO specialists, and after consulting widely, concluded that current ways of working across the sector were inadequate. The group tested ideas and approaches, identified learning objectives, and developed an outline curriculum for a new project management course. This would set standards and a common language for project management in the NGO sector, around the world.

The Birth of PMD Pro

Instead of launching a traditional training program (necessitating the use of consultants), LINGOs opted for an innovative, multi-layered, approach that could be tailored to suit a wide variety of needs. Free online learning tools and materials were developed for project managers around the world. Training organizations, such as LINGOs, could use the curriculum to develop bespoke project management solutions for a numerous NGOs, governments, and civil society groups.

Critically, the new approach enabled project managers to gain a recognized qualification. After attending an introductory training course, project managers could self-study and sit an online exam. To facilitate this, LINGOs partnered with APMG International, to help with the design and certification process.

The Birth of PM4NGOs

PMD Pro was launched in 2010. Rather than being owned by the LINGOs working group, a new NGO – PM4NGOs – was established to manage the best practice. It would be a product that was owned by the NGO sector, as a development tool with all funds generated from examination fees being reinvested by PM4NGOs into additional product development and translation instead of profit making.

In 2011, PM4NGO’s to became the guardian of PMD Pro and the owner of the certification and PMD Pro Guide, to maintain and expand the standard. Since that launch over 15,000 individuals in over 150 countries have participated in the PMD Pro certification.

PM4NGOs is currently working in developing new methodologies and best practices, such as the Program Level Guide and the PMD Pro Starter. With partnership with LINGOs and other organizations, PM4NGOs has become the global leader of methodologies for the development sector.

Project DPro or PMD Pro?

In 2018, PM4NGOs started to review and rewrite the PMD Pro Guide. Over 10 years, PMD Pro has reached 30 thousand professionals, working at 1,250 organizations, in 167 countries.

Looking back at the beginning, it has been incredibly rewarding to hear stories of the difference that improved project management practice has made to people’s lives: PMD Pro has made their lives easier – providing simple and adaptable tools and techniques that help them do more with less and in many cases, do it better.

Launched in March, 2020, the Project DPro Guide (PMD Pro 2nd Edition) reflects years of learning, feedback from hundreds of development professionals, and a two-year development process. It also aligns with Program DPro Guide.

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