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How Project Managers Can Help Their Communities

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Tonight, I accepted PMI's Community Advancement Award--Organization category at PMI Global Congress 2010--North America.

Being the former president of the Institute of Taiwan Project Management, I feel very grateful. Unlike other personal awards, this award honors an organization, which gives recognition to the efforts made by ITPM, a collective labor made by 300 volunteering project managers. 
Community work enables people to live better lives. For project managers who enthusiastically dedicate themselves to their communities, project management tools and techniques can help them be more efficient and productive.

Po-Jen Huang, PMP, project manager and architect at Far Eastern Technical Consultants Co. Ltd., for example, volunteered to help re-build five village schools that were destroyed around Taoyuan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Every aspect of the reconstruction work -- collecting and analyzing requirements, time and budget control, risk management and quality assurance -- was completed under stringent project management methodologies. The team reached its goals within budget, without significant delays while delivering quality outcomes.

Here are some ways project managers can use their skills to help their communities:

Effective communication: Using their team-building and conflict-resolution skills, project managers can help communities bring their ideas together. Project managers can also help their communities identify problems, set priorities, develop confidence and solve problems together.

Process management: Tapping into their shared language and knowledge of project management skills and practices, project managers can effectively establish guidelines and procedures. Project managers are very aware of the different categories of risks, risk triggers, and the procedures for quality assurance and quality control. The response to a community effort can be more efficiently guided, and the transition to different phases of community work or reconstruction can be managed smoothly.

Solid execution: Project management skills and practices ensure community work or construction is carried out quickly and efficiently. Minimal delays rest with what all Professional project managers are good at resource allocation, time and budget management. If they stick to that, the project should have minimal delays.


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Most of us have taken years building up our project management skills and expertise. We should take the opportunity to use our talents to give back to the community when we have the opportunity. Whether big or small.

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