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Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma

Strategic Project Programme Management Diploma

This unique professional diploma is designed for project managers who want to take their careers to the next level. Get the skill set to start looking at your existing portfolio of projects through a strategic lens, support the strategy of the organisation and manage projects beyond the tactical level. 

Advance at managing multiple projects and strategic PMO thinking.
IPMA-C®, NFQ Level 9, SPPM Dip.
15 Weeks
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  • About
  • Certifications
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Why IPM
  • Dates
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Your Strategic Step in Project Management

Strategic project management is a growing trend in the business world. While traditional project management takes a project from its starting point to its end, strategic project management looks at the big picture.

The median salary for Programme Managers in Ireland is €98,680 and €105,900 for Portfolio Managers.[1] The stakes are higher than ever for project management professionals. Knowing how to set up a project plan or a tool-focused approach is no longer enough. However, the ability to respond quickly to change and act with strategic purpose requires a new set of competencies.

This part-time diploma offers a university-backed curriculum taught by 10 industry experts and three credentials to help you develop the ability to successfully manage multiple projects, translate strategy into action, and achieve a competitive market advantage. Take your career one step further and be identified as a practitioner with proven competency in strategic project management processes and practices.

What will I learn?

The course content reflects current global research, emerging trends, and leading practices. You will come away from this course with concrete techniques to immediately improve programme and portfolio management performance. 

Browse more information about the course modules and learning objectives.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss how to influence the higher contextual aspects of projects.
  • Demonstrate the principles of project, programme and portfolio management and balance the portfolio with the strategic setting.
  • Explain the different types of Project Management Office (PMO), illustrate the functions of the PMO and how they could be constructed and choose a methodology and information system for the PMO.
  • Apply financial management as well as cost management concepts.
  • Design a negotiation strategy and conclude negotiated agreements.
  • Engage and effectively manage the expectations of stakeholders toward the success of the initiative.
  • Demonstrate in detail their strengths and weaknesses against each competency based on a knowledge and experience scoring evaluation system.
  • Establish a baseline plan for future career development and improvement of competences identified as being deficient.
  • Demonstrate their competencies in specific areas of project management.
  • Communicate project core messages to executives.
Course Modules

These modules were designed to provide you with the concepts and techniques you need to use as a strategic framework to achieve the mission of the organisation. 


Developing Strategic Thinking Competence
  • The Next Generation Project Manager
  • Defining Strategy
  • A Framework for Strategic Thinking
  • Evolution of Strategic Project Management
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Competitive Advantage in the Organisational Context
  • Links between Portfolio Management and Strategic Project Management
Organisational Project Management
  • A framework for Organizational Project Management
  • Relationships between Projects, Programs & Portfolios
  • Implications of Strategic Plans to Organisational Project Management
  • Resolving organizational issues to implement successful project management
  • Project Vs Programme Management
  • Portfolio Management: definitions, types, processes, and strategies
  • Applying Portfolio ranking/selection models
Project Management Mastery
  • Overview of the components involved in Project Management mastery
  • Project Management process groups and knowledge areas
  • Using a structured approach to manage a project
Developing a Project Management Office (PMO)
  • Introduction to PMO
  • The Different types of PMO
  • PMO Structures, Functions and Staff
  • Setting up a PMO
  • The PMO Life Cycle
  • Executing Information Management
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS)
  • Defining PMIS
  • PMIS: Requirements, and Characteristics
  • Benefits of PMIS
  • PMIS tools: Cloud-based and Onsite
  • Project Portfolio Management Tools and Selection Criteria
  • Information Management
  • PMIS Integration with Functional Areas
Project Portfolio Management Implementation
  • The Strategic PMO
  • Implementing Project Portfolio Management
  • Types of Portfolios
  • Project Portfolio Management Methodologies
  • Project Prioritisation
  • PMO vs Project Portfolio Management
Fundamentals of Programme Management
  • Defining Programme Management
  • Strategic Change and Organisational Capability
  • Programme Management Transformational Flow and Governance Themes
  • Programme Manager vs Project Manager
Financial Basics for Project Managers
  • Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements
  • Cash Flow, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet
  • Financial Analysis: Ratio analysis, Liquidity ratios, Profitability ratios
  • Cost Benefit Analysis and Discount Cash Flow Techniques
  • Sources of Project Funding
Strategy Design vs Strategy Execution
  • The gap between strategy design and execution
  • Guiding the organisation through change
  • Structuring the organisation’s strategy challenges within a framework
  • Solutions to address strategy delivery challenges
  • Strengthening core competences to successfully execute strategic initiatives
Benefits Realisation Management (BRM)
  • Objectives of benefits realisation management
  • Effective approaches to Benefits Realisation Management
  • Advantages of Benefits Realisation Management
  • Monitoring and controlling Benefits Realisation Management
  • Cultivating a Benefits Realisation Management Framework
Negotiation Strategies
  • Understanding the types of changes in projects
  • Understanding the types of negotiations in projects
  • Identifying main stakeholders to processing change and establishing negation in projects
  • Designing a negotiation strategy to get key stakeholders on board with the proposed changes
Governance for the Management of Projects
  • Definitions: Governance of Project Management
  • Governance Principles in Practice
  • The Core Components of Governance
Project Management Complexity
  • Definitions: Project Management Complexity
  • Levels of Project Complexity
  • Project Complexity and Traditional Project Management
  • The Diamond Framework
  • Complexity Measurement Approach
Agile and Lean Management
  • Identifying Lean and Agile values and principles
  • Defining the Agile mindset
  • Differentiating Agile Vs Lean
  • Implementing agile practices to projects
  • Scrum: Definitions and Framework
Programme Review
  • Overview of course content 
  • Identify the best strategies to succeed on the final exam 
Practical Case Studies

This course uses real-industry case studies as an effective way to help you apply your understanding of the topics learned to a real-world situation. They are particularly useful to demonstrate how you can overcome complex situations where solutions are uncertain:

  • Project Portfolio Management Implementation in the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • A PMO Journey to Good Practice in the Financial Services Industry
Competence & Global Standards

This diploma integrates IPMA’s Competence and Excellence Standards in Project, Programme and Portfolio Management:


IPMA® Individual Competence Baseline
  • IPMA Certification System
  • Competence Elements and Key competence Indicators
  • IPMA Certification Assessment
IPMA® Project Excellence Baseline
  • Project Management Excellence
  • People and Purpose
  • Process and Resources
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This course is perfect for...

  • Strategic-minded professionals from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to apply project, programme and portfolio management principles and methodologies to their organisations.
  • Professionals with at least 3 years of project experience, either as a team member or as a project manager.
  • Business executives, managers, leaders, PMO staff and any other professional who directly contribute to projects regardless of their job title.
  • Professionals working either in the private and the public sectors in any size of organisation.
  • Project managers looking to advance their careers with professional certification.


If you would like to learn more about being a strategic project manager, read the article: Understanding Programme Management vs Project Management.

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Entry Requirements

  • A level 8 degree, or equivalent qualification from a recognised body. 
  • If you don’t have a third level qualification but have relevant professional work experience, you may be invited to interview (personal or telephone as appropriate) with the Course Director to assess your suitability. 
  • Applications will be reviewed by the Institute’s Admissions Assessment Board. A CV will be required to check the eligibility. 


Not sure if this course is for you? Schedule a call to speak with an educational adviser. 

Why Study with IPM?
Reputation & History
Project Management Experts
Global IPMA® Certification
Unparalleled Expertise
Student Hub & Community
Reputation & History
  • Established in 1989 as the first Irish professional body dedicated to the promotion of project management as a discipline.
  • Trained 40,000 Professionals and Certified 6,000 Project Managers.
  • National Body for IPMA® in Ireland.
  • First PMP Certification exam hosted in Ireland.
  • Globally recognised certification body.
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Project Management Experts

The Institute is a specialist organisation dealing solely with the discipline of project, programme and portfolio management. Unlike other organisations, which offer a large variety of training programmes across many functional areas, our focus is purely on project management. 

As a result, we attract the highest calibre of international lecturers – who offer invaluable knowledge to our students. 

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Global IPMA® Certification

Within the IPMA®, the Institute is the national body representing Ireland in a federation of over 70 countries.

Identify yourself as a competent practitioner and upgrade your status as an internationally accredited professional. Founded in 1965 in Zurich, IPMA® is the world’s first International Project Management Association, now recognised in over 70 countries across 6 continents.

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Unparalleled Expertise

Our graduates are instructed by a world-class faculty composed of a group of subject-matter experts with unparalleled proficiency and knowledge in project, programme, and portfolio management.

Lecturers range from Project Directors to former Heads of Project Management Certification Authorities.

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Student Hub & Community

Our dedicated Student Support team is here to help you stay relevant and connected to achieve your goals.

Joining the Institute’s community offers you an immersive and engaging learning experience where flexibility and interaction are key. Classroom and virtual learners will gain access to the Institute’s hub where they can find additional resources and connect with other participants to brainstorm, be inspired and share ideas.

Fee & Schedules

This course can be provided to your staff at your own premises with a convenient and cost-effective solution. Learn more

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Student Reviews

Google (100+ reviews)
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Student Reviews
Student Reviews
Very knowledgeable lecturers and very relevant information
Very comprehensive course. It covers quite a lot over a 14 week period. I really enjoyed it. Lecturers very good and some great practical examples given.
It gave me confidence to move forward in my career as a project manager
Fantastic courses provided by a diverse team who specialize in different aspects of Project Management. It gave me the confidence to move forward in my career as a project manager and, having recently recertified, they are an organization I trust.
Check out our Google Reviews
Over the past 30 years, the Institute has dedicated itself to creating the highest quality education, certification and member services in Project Management – resulting in international recognition for excellence. We have trained over 40,000 students and you can check out their reviews here.
Experience speaks volumes
The best lecturers I had the pleasure to listen to in a long, long time. I learned so much. Each Lecturer was so unique in their approach to Project Management. Game changers. Thank you.
The learnings were immediately transferable to the workplace
Fantastic course! For me, this was my first academic experience where all the learnings were immediately transferable to the workplace. The course provided a strong understanding of the Project Management discipline.
At the forefront in leading project management concepts and best practices
My experience of completing the programme is that the course is to the forefront in leading project management concepts and best practices for delivering projects effectively in the today's business world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find your questions answered and everything you need to know about the course.

Need further information?
What is included in the course fee? 

The course fees include the examination and certification fees, access to all course materials on the Student Hub, live expert-led virtual classes, recordings and unlimited support from our Student Support team. 

Does the course have payment plans? 

Yes, there are two payment options available:

  • Full payment before the start of the course;
  • 50/50 instalment plan: the first instalment of 50% should be paid upfront, and the remainder halfway through the course (week 7).
What are the delivery formats available for this course?

This course is available in two formats:

  • Online. Choose weekly online evening classes with industry-expert lecturers. Do not need to worry about missing a class – a recording of each online class will be available for playback in the Student Hub for a limited period of time.
  • Classroom. Choose weekly evening classes on campus for in-person learning with industry-expert lecturers. Classes run at the National College of Ireland (Dublin). Please note the scheduling of classroom courses may have been affected by Covid-19.
Is the course suitable for candidates without former PM knowledge?

This course is better suited to candidates with a fundamental knowledge of traditional project management frameworks and some practical experience. The course is suitable for project managers, or any professional who directly contributes to projects.

Is the course applicable to any industry?

Yes, the content of this professional diploma in project management programme is suitable for various industry sectors. We have students from different backgrounds – such as engineering, pharmaceuticals, design, construction, IT and many others – who completed the course successfully.

How is this course assessed?

The course is assessed through four written assignments and a 3-hour online examination at the end of the course. 

How much time do I need to spend every week to complete the course? 

Classes run one evening per week, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Plan to spend approximately 4 to 6 hours each week on the core material and reflecting on what you have learned. However, as you can appreciate, this is very dependent on each individual’s capability.

Are the course qualifications recognised internationally?

Yes, the course credentials are recognised in over 70 countries.

Will recordings be available if I miss a class? 

A recording of each online class will be available for playback in the Student Hub for a limited period of time, so you do not need to worry about missing a class. 

How will this course help with my career? 

This course curriculum is designed by industry-experts to help you develop a strategic mindset and the practical competence that is so valuable to hiring managers. Gain the concepts, skills, and confidence to take the next step in your project management career with globally recognised credentials.

Am I eligible to get the IPMA Level C Certification?

Eligible candidates must have a minimum of 3 years’ experience as a project manager within projects of moderate complexity OR a minimum of 3 years’ experience in a responsible project management role assisting the project manager in complex projects. The Institute’s Admissions Assessment Board will do a preliminary eligibility assessment at the time of your application.

If I don’t have the necessary academic qualifications, can I still be admitted?

Candidates with relevant professional work experience but no primary degree will still be considered to join the course. Applications will be reviewed by the Institute’s Admissions Assessment Board. A CV will be required to check the eligibility. If a candidate is not yet eligible to get this certification level, they can return within a two-year timeframe to complete the application once they have gained the required experience.

What is the difference between your diploma courses?

The Certified Project Management Diploma is the best course for those who want to start their accredited career path as a project manager. It is also best suited for project managers who need to strengthen their practice with formal training on core project management tactical subjects.


The Strategic Project Program Management Diploma is designed for candidates with at least 3 years of professional experience in a project management role, who are confident managing a project from initiation to close out according to best practices and standards. This course will build on your foundations to develop your skills to manage multiple projects and implement strategic project management in your daily practice and in your organisation.


The Project Leadership and Management Diploma is best suited to emerging leaders and project management professionals looking to refine their management and leadership skills. The programme is designed to help you evolve from a project manager to a project leader. As such, the focus will be on developing the capabilities, attitudes, and behaviours needed to become a confident, driven, and focused project leader.