Project DPro Practitioner level – The basics: Giving Back

In the final article of this series, we will analyze the third category or the Project DPro Practitioner certification: “Giving Back”.

Giving Back is the Project DPro Practitioner category which enables candidates to use their knowledge and expertise to give back to project management in the development and humanitarian sectors.

There are four Giving Back activities to carry out for the purposes of Project DPro Practitioner certification. These are:

  • Sharing a tool/process: which you have developed or modified.
  • Submit a case study article or video to DPro+, with details of a project you recently completed.
  • Free choice activity (2) (helps peers, give a presentation)

Sharing a tool requires candidates to share examples of how they have used project management tools and techniques in real life situations. Candidates can select one of the following tools to share:

  • Logframe or Logical Framework  
  • Problem or Objective Tree
  • RACI Matrix
  • Risk Register
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • MEAL Plan
  • Venn Diagram
  • Network Diagram
  • Project Budget
  • Stakeholders Matrix
  • Communications Plan
  • Project Charter
  • Gantt Chart
  • Issues Log
  • Project Proposal

The Case Study activity allows you to give back to the project management community by giving people the benefit of the learning from your own contextual experiences.

Finally, the two Free Election activities enable candidates to choose from helping their peers or giving a presentation. Helping peers could include assisting people to attain Project DPro Foundation certification, and giving a presentation could be either in the workplace or to another local or community group.  

We hope you have enjoyed this series of articles breaking down the categories of Project DPro Practitioner certification, and that they have inspired you to begin your own Practitioner journey.

Project DPro Practitioner level – The basics: Informal Learning

In this article, we will analyze the second category of the Project DPro Practitioner certification process: “Informal Learning”.

Informal Learning activities demonstrate that candidates have implemented knowledge from the Project DPro Foundation certificate in real life scenarios.

There are six Informal Learning activities to carry out for the purposes of Project DPro Practitioner certification. These are:

  • Attending a webinar hosted by PM4NGOs or other relevant organization (2)
  • Book Review
  • Project Management article review (2)
  • Free choice activity (work event, organizational course, mentoring)

Each of these activities complements or deepens your knowledge of project management in development and humanitarian projects, building on the base provided by the Project DPro Foundation exam.   

Although preference is given to sessions hosted by PM4NGOs or our partners, candidates are able to choose two webinars relevant to project management in the development or humanitarian sectors. This allows candidates to choose content which they find to be of particular interest to themselves.

The Book Review activity enables you to select a relevant text of interest and analyze its content. Similarly, the two Article Reviews allow you to do the same with smaller texts or documents.

Finally, there is a Free Election activity which could be a work event, an organizational course or a mentoring activity. Candidates are free to choose which of these activities they would prefer to perform.

In the final article in this series we’ll take a look at the Giving Back section of Project DPro Practitioner.

Project DPro Practitioner level – The basics: Mini-courses

This article is the first of three to examine the required CPD areas of the Project DPro Practitioner certification: Mini-courses.

As you will know by now, DPro+ provides site members with a total of 36 mini-courses relating to each one of the Project and Program Management competencies listed in the Project DPro and Program DPro Guides. These courses were designed to assist Project Managers in their professional development subsequent to attaining the Project DPro Foundation qualification.

The Project DPro Practitioner certificate requires candidates to take a total of six Mini-courses. You must pick at least one from the four Project DPro categories:

  • Technical
  • Leadership/interpersonal
  • Personal/self-management
  • Development sector specific

However, exactly which mini-courses you select within these categories is up to you, and you are also free to elect two mini-courses from whichever category you choose. This is a good opportunity for you to address either areas of particular interest for you or areas in which you feel you could use a little extra study.

DPro+’s mini-courses are free to take and each has an expected duration of around two hours. We at PM4NGOs encourage you to take the Practitioner certification according to your own workload and schedule. Nevertheless, the mini-courses could be completed over a number of weeks or within just a couple of days.

In the next article, we’ll take a look at the informal learning section of Project DPro Practitioner.

To find out more visit the Project DPro Practitoner menu.

Project DPro Practitioner: Self-study or guided by a trainer?

Now you have decided to attain your Project DPro Practitioner certification you will need to choose whether to take charge of your own learning process or contact a mentor for help.


All of the information you need in order to pursue Practitioner certification under your own steam is available on DPro+.

You will decide when to study, what resources to use and you will take charge of ensuring that you perform all of the activity log tasks within either the final time limit or your desired period of time.

To begin, go to the Project DPro Practitioner menu bar.

Training organization

PM4NGOs has a number of training partners who can guide you through the activities required to become a Project DPro Practitioner.

If you prefer to be mentored towards your Practitioner certification, we recommend you contact one of these training partners.

These trainers will show you how to complete activity log tasks and recommend specific resources to help you on your Practitioner journey.

The list of training partners offering mentoring services for the Project DPro Practitioner certification can be found at the main PM4NGOs website.  

Project DPro Practitioner: Begin your journey today!

The Project DPro suite of certifications is changing!

We have changed PMD Pro Level 1 to Project DPro Foundation level and PMD Pro Level 2 to Project DPro Practitioner level.

This is far more than just a name change.

As previously, Project DPro Foundation level remains a multiple choice examination of your knowledge of the Project DPro Guide.

However, replacing the PMD Pro Level 2 exam is a new certification based around Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

To gain your Practitioner certification you will perform activities in the following three CPD areas:

  • Mini-courses related to Project DPro competencies
  • Informal learning
  • Giving Back

By completing your activity log for these three areas you will prove not only your in-depth knowledge of Project DPro but also your acquired experience in the field of Project Management.

To find out more, visit the Project DPro Practitioner menu bar.

By pursuing Project DPro Practitioner level accreditation you can boost your CV and enhance your job prospects.

Start down the road of becoming a Project DPro Practitioner today!

Leadership Series No.4: Leadership in Adversity

The fourth article in our leadership series takes a look at the ability to lead in times of adversity – such as the current Covid-19 crisis.

The current coronavirus crisis is an adverse situation with which we all have to deal. Adversity can also be personal, as we respond to professional setbacks or personal traumas and situations. All of these situations provide leaders with the opportunity to learn and hone our skills as leaders.

When adversity strikes, leaders are faced with the need to pivot and respond to the crisis or emergency situation. A five-step process for managing adversity is proposed by Brad Egeland (

  1. Gather the team to assess the damage
  2. Come up with a plan of action
  3. Present to the customer and plan with them
  4. Implement the action plan
  5. Stay the course

This step process helps leaders to methodically plan their responses. Like all good project management, it requires effective planning and implementation.

Nevertheless, leadership in adversity is not all about responding to s changing situation in the short-term. The three tips for leading in adversity provided by are:

  • Being adaptable
  • Seeing the long game
  • Avoiding discouragement

So, leaders must be willing to make changes and keep working despite facing an uphill struggle. Often, dealing with adversity consumes a lot of time just responding to day-to-day issues, but leaders must still think strategically and be able to vision the long-term. Avoid the pitfall of getting sucked into a short-term approach.

By now, we have all had our fair share of responding to adversity during the last 18 months. What have you learned about your leadership skills during this time? How have you improved as a project manager and as a leader?

We hope you have enjoyed this leadership series. Look out for future articles on similar subjects.

Leadership Series No.3: Key leadership traits

The third article in our leadership series takes a look at the characteristics associated with leadership.  

What are the traits that make a successful leader?

Clearly, there are many important aspects, and some will be valued above others according to the particular context. In this article, I’ll examine multiple perspectives on the key traits of leadership, to identify those behaviors that are most commonly acclaimed. The three management authors and speakers discussed are Deep Patel (Forbes, 11 powerful leadership traits), LearningREADefined (7 key traits of leadership), and Brian Tracy (7 qualities of good leaders).

Leadership Traits

Deep Patel (Forbes) ( LearningREADefined Brian Tracy (
Having a vision for the future Proactive attitude Vision
Being accountable and responsible Are accountable Integrity
Being and Effective Communicator Radiate positive energy Focus
Acting Strategically Delegate tasks completely Strategic planning
Creating lasting relationships Are approachable Cooperation
Teambuilding and promoting teamwork Do what they expect of others Humility
Setting clear goals and persisting in achieving them Are decisive Courage
Managing complexity    
Fostering creativity and innovation    
Learning agility    

Analysis highlights the many similarities between these independent lists. The emerging themes are: Vision, Accountability, Strategic planning, Teambuilding and Decision-making.

Vision: Also a key Project DPro competency (12), Vision is the ability to contemplate the future. In this sense, Vision is closely linking to strategic planning as it entails finding time among the day-to-day management of operational issues to think about and plan for the future.

Accountability: Taking accountability and responsibility is another common trait. Author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy prefers the term Integrity, which invokes a sense of honesty and transparency.

Strategic planning: Deep Patel’s more substantial list of leadership qualities includes Managing complexity and Learning agility, but another common element is that of strategic action/planning.

From a Teamwork perspective, we can link LearningREADefined’s “Do what they expect of others” to the “Humility” extolled by Brian Tracy and Deep Patel’s “Creating lasting relationships” to reveal an interpretation of leading people as setting an example among equals. Moving away from the Organizational hierarchy, leaders nurture and foster relationships from a long-term perspective.

Finally, Decision-making. The emphasis here is on being timely and decisive. Leaders won’t always have the benefit of all the information necessary to make an easy decision, but, according to Tracy, they must have the “Courage” of their convictions.           

Next time, we’ll look at leadership in adversity.

How to be a great leader – The 7 Great Leadership traits (LearningREADefined)  

Leadership Series No.2: Leadership & Management

In this second article of the leadership series, we’ll delve into the differences between management and leadership. Let’s begin with some definitions. According to the OED, management is defined as:

“The process of dealing with or controlling things or people”

Leadership is defined by the OED as:

“The action of leading a group of people or an organization”

The first definition is striking, even alarming, in its use of the verb “control” – a word with often negative connotations. Through the absence of the controlling element, the definition of leadership indicates that the role is on one hand more positive, and on the other more complex.   

The Smarp blog highlights the differences between managers and leaders by emphasizing that managers are still followers, as they “follow the vision” and “endorse the culture” while leaders “set the vision” and “shape the culture”.

The overarching premise of leadership is that through ideas, vision and examples, the leader inspires people to follow their path.      

Leadership guru Simon Sinek insists that leadership is not being in charge but taking care of those in our charge. The key difference is that managers, by controlling, seek to be in charge of the output or results of their staff. In contrast, leaders are not responsible for the job performed by their people, but rather they are responsible for the people doing the job.    

In term of project management, Sinek’s teachings are highly representative of the “Servant leader” associated with Agile Project Management.

We surmise by saying that a project leader hires the right people for the job and facilitates their work by removing obstacles from their path.  

Benefits from taking a mentorship by Ivana Petkukjeska

In this article, Ivana Petkukjeska discusses her mentoring experience and extolls the virtues of becoming a mentee.

How it began…

During the last months of 2020, I started started considering the idea to start my own consulting business more seriously. Given my experience and knowledge in project management for NGOs, I started thinking about providing project development and writing services to anyone that has an idea for change and know-how to implement it, but no skills to convert it into an S.M.A.R.T. project proposal.

Ivana Petkukjeska

I knew the end result, but I didn’t know where to start. I knew the direction, but wasn’t sure which road I should take. So I started opening everything there is on the PMD4NGOs website, and ended up staring at the discussion board and thinking “On a scale for 1-10, how stupid it is to ask a question about how to take the baby steps?”

There was nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I dropped the question. The answer (which I didn’t even expect) led to free individual mentorship sessions with an international expert. First, I couldn’t believe that I got such a person providing individual mentorship for me. Second, even more unbelievable, all for free.

Every Tuesday through December: The benefits of the online mentorship process

While the mentorship process about my consulting business idea has already started, I slightly doubted that organizations needed this type of service. Although I never said that out loud, Edson showed me that what I want to sell, I am good at and enjoy doing is something that others are willing to pay for, might be bad at or even hate it. This was quite unexpected information for me. I falsely assumed that every project manager knows how and is willing to write projects. I was wrong on this very rare occasion when I assumed without even asking.

It wasn’t just about the need for project writing services I got new insights for. I also got very clear understanding where I should begin, the best approach to promote services, new insights about the market and its demands, potential pool of clients, and guidance for pricing methods.  All of this information was provided in a concrete, easy to follow action steps.

Moreover, Edson didn’t only help me see possibilities; he opened doors for me by creating relevant international connections!

There were a lot of other questions that were arising as a result of the conversation or between mentorship sessions, while I was working on a particular task/guidance I was provided. After each session, everything became clearer. The fear to start on my own diminished and the motivation rised.

3 take aways for future mentees

  • Utilize an opportunity to get a mentorship from someone more experienced.
  • Before it starts, get clear about what you want to ask/need information or guidance for (at least the first 3 questions, the rest will pop-up as the discussion progresses)
  • Be open to listen and put the suggested next steps on a to-do list that you plan to execute really soon

Mini bio

My name is Ivana Petkukjeska from N.Macedonia, currently based in Slovenia.

For the last 13 years my work is mostly focused on writing and implementing projects. I’ve worked with over 50 clients based worldwide, mostly NGOs, for which I’ve secured funding from governments, ministries, municipalities, EU funds, embassies, companies (CSR programmes), and other international foundations and agencies etc.

I hold Project Management for Development Professionals certificate and an MA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

Currently, I am in the process of establishing my own consulting company with a mission to connect those with an idea and those who give money for ideas. I will do that by supporting my clients in the process of re-shaping, developing, and writing their ideas as a meaningful, sustainable, manageable, feasible, and impactful project that makes a change (and sense).

The Principled Manager: Adaptive

Projects and Programs in the development and humanitarian sectors

To complement the processes and tools provided within their pages, Project DPro and Program DPro include a set of five essential Principles for the management of projects and programs in development.

Here, we take a deeper look at the first of those Principles: Adaptive. To find out more, consult pages 179-183 of the Project DPro Guide and pages 156-167 of the Program DPro Guide.


While one of the main objectives of project management is to create and implement a plan, the ability to Adapt as the project progresses is a key principle of Project DPro. The Adaptive principle relates to Monitoring, Evaluation & Control, especially the control of changes made to the project plan.

Projects and Programs are living entities, and the DPro Manager must respond to changes and issues as they arise during their project or program. The Adaptive principle is applied during all the phases of Project and Program DPro.

Adaptive and Decision Gates

The points at which the DPro Manager can employ the Adaptive principle include Decision Gates, which are valuable opportunities to assess how the project or program has progressed. The Adaptive manager uses decision gates as opportunities to reassess and reanalyze the project information at their disposal

Adaptive and Covid-19

A very current and very real example of the need to be Adaptive is the Covid-19 crisis. The innumerable development projects and programs in operation when the crisis hit will have had to adapt to the restrictions and effects of Covid-19. Inability to do so will, in many cases, will have endangered the success of those projects and programs.  

Conclusion: Adaptability assumes increasing importance

The speed of technological change, and issues such as climate change, show that Covid-19 is not the only external factor requiring adaptability to changing circumstances. Perhaps more than any other Project and Program DPro principle, Adaptive will assume even more importance in the future.