Project Management for Sustainable Development, Foundation (PM4SD-F)

The PM4SD Foundation course introduces you to key tools and techniques to better plan and manage funding and investment in tourism projects, helping ensure your projects are built on a solid foundation and are able to achieve concrete results for destinations and communities, producing lasting benefits beyond the project life cycle.

Course Objectives

PM4SD training helps project managers and industry stakeholders improve their tourism management skills and enhance sustainability performance.

The PM4SD Foundation Course is focused on the abilities to:

  • Understand how to design and implement tourism projects in line with sustainable tourism policies and programmes.
  • Become familiar with key considerations related to securing funding support for your tourism projects.
  • Learn about internationally recognized sustainable tourism indicators and criteria that can support project objectives.
  • Learn about the relevant tools and techniques to be used for successfully managing projects and monitoring results.
  • Identify and discuss key aspects of effectively managing project team members and their responsibilities, including how to delegate tasks.
  • Review and recognize best practcies in designing innovative and transformative sustainable tourism projects.


See the Course Modules section for detailed descriptions on each module and learning objectives.


About the PM4SD

PM4SD (Project Management for Sustainable Development) is an internationally recognized methodology and professional qualification designed to help ensure tourism projects deliver benefits for all stakeholders and achieve lasting impacts.

While the importance of sustainable tourism has been receiving increased recognition in recent years, too often, funding for delivering sustainable tourism projects has been spent without achieving any substantial results due to factors such as: lack of a solid needs analysis; poor planning and project design; and inadequate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

The methodology of PM4SD has been developed to empower project managers, policy makers and entrepreneurs with tools and techniques to better plan and manage funding and investment in the tourism context, and to overcome these challenges, with the key goals of:

  • Delivering long-term benefits beyond the project life cycle for all stakeholders.
  • Ensuring projects achieve substantial results for destinations and communities.
  • Empowering professionals to use tourism as a positive force for social, economic and cultural change.


PM4SD Foundation Exam and Certificate

Those who complete the PM4SD Foundation Course will have the opportunity to take the official PM4SD Foundation Exam, and upon passing the exam, are awarded with a certification issued by APMG International.

The PM4SD Foundation Exam is administered by APMG International. The Foundation Exam fee (£150) is not included in the online course registration fee. Training participants can register for the Exam via our training partner Jlag, which is a PM4SD Accredited Training Organization.

For more information on the exam, please see here (links to the Jlag website).

Note on the Course Workload:

The amount of time required to complete the course will differ depending on individual reading speed, etc., but we recommend setting aside a total of 8-10 hours for completing this course. You can go through the course materials at your own pace. You might finish the whole course in one day, or review one unit at a time over the course of several weeks - or anything in between. To join one of the scheduled Live Q&A sessions, we recommend you finish most of the course beforehand, to make the most of your time during the live session.


Introduction: Getting Started on the PM4SD Online Course

Get started on some introductory learning content and course activities.

  • How Does the Course Work?: Become familiar with the course flow, and learn how to navigate the course platform.
  • Meet Our Team: Get to know the people behind the PM4SD online course.
  • What is PM4SD?: Learn about the PM4SD approach, vision and philosophy - the foundation of what you will be learning throughout the course.
  • Project Management Issues and Challenges: Learn about and discuss some of the main issues and challenges with sustainable tourism projects.


Module 1: PM4SD Methodology and Project Management Overview

The first module provides an overview of the PM4SD methodology, including the fundamentals of sustainable tourism, which is key to the context in which PM4SD is used; the principles and standards in sustainable tourism; and the key characteristics of PM4SD projects, such as how success is defined, how project stages are planned, and what conditions are considered to ensure good governance.

  • Tourism Context: Learn about and discuss the definitions, principles and indicators relevant to the concept and approach of sustainable tourism.
  • Sustainable Tourism Standards: Get to know the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, and the European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS), a tool for destinations to measure and monitor sustainability performance.
  • The PM4SD Approach to Project Success: Understand the key variables within a project that must be considered and controlled, and other factors that influence the project's success or failure.
  • Project Life Cycle in the Tourism Sector: Understand the different stages of a project, which has a start and end, and needs to transform plans into actions during its lifetime.
  • Governance and Leadership: Learn how to foster conditions for good governance that enable effective collaboration and active participation. 


Module 1 Knowledge Checks:

  • The PM4SD principles
  • Fundamentals of project management
  • Key roles of the project manager
  • Project life cycle and project stages
  • The project management context and governance levels


Module 2: Key Components of a PM4SD Project

In the second module, a more in-depth look into a PM4SD project is presented, with discussions on the why, who, what, how, and when of the project management approach, all with an emphasis on ensuring that the project delivers tangible and lasting benefits to all stakeholders.

  • Business Case: Understand how projects are justified as desirable, viable and achievable, bringing measureable benefits and delivering products with concrete value.
  • Risk, Issue and Change Management: Learn how project managers can identify, assess and address any events that might have an impact on the project objectives and results.
  • Organization Structure: Learn how to define the various roles in the project and the specific responsibilities and accountabilities associated with those roles.
  • Quality Planning and Management: Learn how a project manager should incorporate in project stage planning the necessary steps to ensure a product’s readiness before its delivery.
  • Product-Based Planning: Learn the techniques to approaching a project’s stage and activity planning with the PM4SD’s "focus on product" principle.
  • Progress Control: Learn the procedures and techniques to monitor and assess progress against the project’s planned objectives at different levels of planning.


Module 2 Knowledge Checks:

  • Outputs, Outcomes, and Benefits
  • Project Team Structure
  • Accountablity and Project Assurance
  • Project Plan, Stage Plan and Team Plan
  • Product Description and Product Breakdown Structure


Module 3: PM4SD Project Management Processes

The third module of this course covers the specific processes within a PM4SD methodology, offering step-by-step instructions on setting the project direction; initiating the project; defining project stages; managing deliverables; and closing the project.

  • Project Direction: Learn how to manage project activities using a Project Board.
  • Project Initiation: Learn how to define project performance goals and produce documented plans at the start of the project.
  • Stage Definition and Planning: Learn how to define and plan project stages, ensuring alignment with strategic objectives.
  • Stage Control and Product Delivery: Learn how to manage each delivery stage within the constraints set by the project objectives, and to ensure quality in the delivery stage.
  • Project Closure: Learn how to ensure a controlled and structured closure.


Module 3 Knowledge Checks:

  • Project Direction Process
  • Project Initiation Requirements
  • Defining, Assessing and Closing Stages
  • Stage Control & Product Delivery
  • Ensure a Controlled Project Closure
  • Products Hand-Over and the Exit Strategy


Module 4: PM4SD Benefit Realisation Management

In the fourth module of this course, key questions around the benefits delivered through the projects are discussed, by mapping the benefits (and their links to strategic objectives and project outputs), providing clear descriptions of the benefits created and their value to the project; and establishing concrete plans for realizing and managing those benefits.  

  • From Outputs to Benefits: Understand the definitions of, and the difference between project output, outcome and benefits.
  • Measuing the Benefits: Learn how to measure project benefits, which is key to managing those benefits - before, during and after the project.
  • Disbenefits: Understand the possible negative side effects of a project, and learn how to measure, minimize and manage them.
  • Benefit Realisation Plan: Learn how to use Benefit Maps and Benefit Profiles to effectively develop and execute a benefit realisation plan.


Module 4 Knowledge Checks:

  • Benefit Profile
  • Ensuring Meareable Improvements
  • Benefit Map
  • Benefit Owner
  • Benefit Realisation Review


Director of Training Strategy and Development, TrainingAid
Managing Director, Jlag

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