ICB4® in 3 minutes

The basics

The IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (ICB4) is the global standard for individual competences in project, programme and portfolio management.


The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is a leading worldwide not-for-profit project management association with more than 60 member associations. IPMA published the first official version of the ICB (Version 2.0) in 1999, with a small modification in 2001. Version 3 was published in 2007 and Version 4 in 2015.

A central concept of the ICB4 is the ‘eye of competence’, which represents the three management domains of project, programme, and portfolio management. Based on a generic

model each individual has to have perspective competences that address the context of his or her project, programme or portfolio, people competences that address personal and social topics and practices competences that address the specific technical aspects for managing his or her project, programme or portfolio.



The ICB4 defines 29 competence elements:

•   5 Perspective competence elements

•   10 People competence elements

•   14 Practice competence elements.


Each competence element consists of a definition, the purpose, a description of the content, knowledge areas, skills and a list of related competence elements as well as a set of key competence indicators with a description and measures.


IPMA offers a four level certification programme based on the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (ICB4): IPMA level A-D.

Target audience

The target audience consists of project, programme and portfolio managers and staff as well as general managers, assessors, coaches, HR managers and trainers involved in project, programme and portfolio management. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Scope and constraints

The strength of the IPMA competence baseline is that it is a comprehensive inventory of competences an individual needs to have or to develop to successfully realise projects, programmes or portfolios. None of the other frameworks or methods for project, programme or portfolio management does this. The ICB4 framework is therefore most suitable as a reference model for the development and assessment of individual project, programme and portfolio managers. Further the ICB4 is applicable for all sectors and industries.

The ICB4 does not recommend or include specific methods or tools. Methods and tools may be defined by the organization. The project, programme or portfolio manager should choose appropriate methods and tools fit for the actual circumstances.