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Bloggers Sound Off: Congress Takeaways

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In this Voices on Project Management roundtable, two bloggers discuss their top takeaway from PMI® Global Congress -- from the perspective of an attendee and a presenter.


Every time I attend a PMI Global Congress, I am ready to discover exciting learning opportunities. Congress gives me the opportunity to interact with peers, discuss best practices, common issues and the latest trends in project management. But my biggest takeaway is the networking. 

But networking opportunities do not start at the congress -- you can start contacting attendees in advance and use the congress as a venue to meet them and interact with project management practitioners from all over the planet. Many of them stand out from the crowd with ribbons color-coded to their credential, so you can network more easily with targeted groups (for example, PgMPs have a specific ribbon). 
Attending pre-sessions also provides the opportunity to support and recognize peers, such as the awards gala on Saturday night (of North America congress) or attend Sunday morning workshops where the state of project management is discussed. Here, I've found inspiration from fellow project managers to continue engaging in volunteer opportunities.

Even the Exhibit Hall is a great opportunity to network with vendors and educational institutions and learn more about the products and services they offer. And you never know, from those interactions you may find potential job opportunities.

In conclusion: Network, network, network! That's my advice for getting the most value from congress. 


Your value as a project professional is determined by how much value you can create for others. This value is a function of two factors. The first is your personal capability to supply a need. The second is your ability to reach people. That increased reach would increase your ability to create value. 

PMI Global Congress is about increasing our ability to create value by increasing along both of those dimensions. Each of us brings to congress the value of our own experiences, our own learning, our own knowledge. So one of the most valuable things we can do is to share that with others. When we share what we know with others, we are creating value for them. Likewise, when they share what they know with us, they are creating value for us.

Certainly, there is much value to be created from participating at congress as an attendee in terms of increasing personal capability as you learn from others and as others learn from you. But participating as a presenter provides the possibility to create considerably more value because you are able to reach so many more people.

For me, the top takeaway at Congress isn't what I can take away, but rather what I can give away! And as a presenter, I can increase my reach and share the value of my experiences with many more people.

What was your top takeaway from congress? Did you attend as an attendee or presenter?

Your Execs Need a Wake-up Call--Start the Conversation

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PMI's The High Cost of Low Performance 2014 reveals the major issues that organizations and leaders worldwide are facing. This year's Pulse research exposes a wide chasm between an organization's actual state and the state of success. Projects, including those focused on an organization's highest priorities--its strategic initiatives--are suffering. And while strategic initiatives are essential to success in today's increasingly complex business world, an alarming 44% of initiatives fail in implementation.

To remain competitive, organizations must focus on three critical areas:

  • People: Organizations must focus on the development of their talent and managing their people through rapid organizational changes that stem from new strategic initiatives. Furthermore, organizations need to ensure executive sponsors are in place to help drive these changes. 
  • Processes: Organizations must fully understand the value of project management and mature their project, program and portfolio management capabilities along with establishing and using standardized project management practices.
  • Outcomes: Organizations must continually focus on the outcomes of the intended benefits of their projects and programs by measuring and communicating the value of these benefits to the organization.  
The full 2014 Pulse of the Profession® report is available on PMI.org. Know what's keeping your executives up at night. What you'll learn will help you start a conversation with them on the importance and value of aligning project and program management with your organization's strategic goals.

The newest edition of the Pulse features feedback and insights from over 2,500 project management leaders and practitioners across North America; Asia Pacific; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and Latin America and Caribbean regions.

Are You Ready?

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Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of the Project Management Institute, asks "Are you ready?" to become a project leader? Do you have the skills that the executives in your organization are looking for? Do you know what those skills are? Can you connect what you do every day to your organization's business objectives? 

What's the Story Behind Your PMP Certification?

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Long-time Voices on Project Management blogger Conrado Morlan, PMP, PgMP shares how attaining a PMP certification helped his career.

Project management practitioners like me, with more than 20 years of experience, learned about PMI and the PMP® certification in ways much different from today. 

My first exposure to PMI, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and PMP certification was in the late 1990s. It was during a training program to attain PMP certification -- and in Spanish, no less -- at the company I worked for in Puebla, Mexico. 

My colleagues and I questioned the benefits of this certification, which at the time was not well known in Mexico. In addition, the written exam was in English. That did not make the PMP more attractive. 

I left the company before taking the exam. Yet in my new job, I discovered that the knowledge I acquired in the training program was very helpful. Without prompting, I used some of the best practices in the PMBOK® Guide, especially those related to risk and project integration.

As I progressed professionally, I moved to the United States and learned more about PMI chapters and global congresses. I became a member and a regular at chapter meetings. 

By this point -- even with eight years of practical experience in project management and applying best practices in my work -- I realized I needed to take it to the next level: earning PMP certification. Sure, professional experience and on-the-job-training are important -- but I was only recognized for that at my company. Attaining the PMP meant that the world's largest association for the profession would validate my professional experience. 

In the lead-up to my exam, I was traveling intensively for my job, and the PMBOK® Guide became my travel companion. While abroad, I visited local PMI chapters and learned about running projects in different settings. The interaction with members of PMI chapters in other countries helped me tweak my project plan. The combination of studying and exchanging ideas with practitioners internationally were fundamental for my PMP exam preparation.

In December 2005, I attained my PMP -- and I have never regretted it. Achieving the certification brought me immediate benefits. After I notified my manager, he awarded me an incentive bonus. A week later, I was selected to lead one of the most challenging projects of the portfolio. 

Over the years, I also became more involved in my community, volunteering at events such as PMI item-writing sessions. In 2011, I was honored with the 2011 PMI Distinguished Contribution Award. I'm not saying that getting my PMP awarded me recognition and experience overnight, but I needed it to get to the next stage in my career.

I still find project professionals who think the same as my colleagues and I did in the late 1990s. The most frequent questions I hear are: Why should I earn a certification or a credential, if I am a senior project manager with many years of experience? How does a certification or credential make me different? 

To these, I respond with a question (Why not step out of your comfort zone?) and a thought (What made you successful in the past will not make you successful today).

The truth is that, just like doctors, project professionals need to update their knowledge to face the challenges in today's project world. PMP certification and PMI membership give you access to share and acquire project management knowledge, stay up to speed on new trends, and join a group of global volunteers contributing toward the advancement of the profession. Most importantly, certification helps you reach the next step in your professional life. At least that is what it has done for me.

How did getting a PMP help your career? Are you still considering getting one, and why?

Help Celebrate Project Management Achievements

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There are some stunning stories of success out there  -- too many of which go unheralded. Here's your chance to change that with the 2012 PMI Professional Awards.

You've got plenty of options -- from project and individual awards to research and literature awards.

Consider that peer you've seen contributing to the advancement of the project management profession or PMI. Now's the time to acknowledge all that hard work by nominating him or her for the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award. Nominee(s) don't have to be a PMI member and may work in any field.

Doing well should give project professionals more than just that "warm and fuzzy" feeling. Shine the spotlight on projects that improve the wellbeing of a community, or achievements that apply project management principles to the pro bono delivery of goods and services. The PMI Community Advancement Through Project Management Award is offered in Individual, Organizational and PMI Chapter categories.

Nominations for both awards must be submitted by 1 April 2012.

All awards are presented among your peers at the PMI Awards Ceremony, which is held in conjunction with PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- North America (20-23 October in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada).

No one knows excellence in project management like you and your peers. So nominate a deserving colleague today.

Learn more, download applications, and watch videos of past award winners and nominees. 

Read more about PMI awards.

In Search of Project Management Stars

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Every project professional knows the massive effort that goes into a project delivered on time, on budget and in sync with organizational strategy. Now's the time to put the spotlight on all that hard work.

Established in 1989, the PMI Project of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of a project and project team for performance and exemplary execution of project management using processes and approaches consistent with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) -- Fourth Edition.

PMI encourages nominations for projects from around the world, regardless of size, industry or location. Anyone can nominate a project or be nominated for a project; PMI affiliation is not required. The winner will be announced in October at PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- North America in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

But you have to act quickly. Nominations for the 2012 PMI Project of the Year Award must be received by Thursday, 1 March 2012.

Winning such a coveted professional award reaps many benefits for both organizations and individuals. These may include a boost in sales, attracting and retaining top talent, and gaining media exposure. It's also an excellent way to celebrate a project team's successes while affirming an organization's commitment to sound project management. For individuals, a professional award can enhance your résumé or CV and your career prospects.

Last year's project entries represented a diverse array. The Prairie Waters Project, aimed at preventing water shortages in Colorado, USA, took top honors. The finalists included the EMAL Smelter Complex in Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the Oak Grove Steam Electric Station in Franklin, Texas, USA.

Learn more about the 2012 Project of the Year, download nomination guidelines and watch videos of 2011 award winners and nominees.

Have you submitted your nomination yet?

Contribute Your Knowledge to Help Update PMI Global Standards

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Looking to contribute to the development of a standard? Here's your opportunity.

Through mid-March, project, program and portfolio professionals along with the interested public can share their expertise and experience to improve and comment on PMI's portfolio and program standards, as well as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).

The Standard for Portfolio Management -- Third Edition Draft Standard will be available for public review until 14 January 2012.

The Standard for Program Management -- Third Edition will be available from 6 February - 6 March 2012 and the PMBOK® Guide -- Fifth Edition will be available from 17 February - 20 March 2012.

Here's your link to log in to PMI.org and access the exposure draft that's available. Review and submit your comments.

You can also visit and bookmark the "PMBOK® Guide and Standards" section of www.PMI.org to reach exposure drafts and learn about current PMI standards projects.

Your voice matters. Provide your comments -- and make a difference in PMI standards.

Know a Project Management Superstar?

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There's a lot of talk about the importance of acknowledgment. But many project managers in the trenches go unnoticed.

Here's your chance to change that by nominating a peer for the PMI Linn Stuckenbruck Person of the Year Award.

Named after Linn C. Stuckenbruck, PhD, this award recognizes a PMI member for outstanding contributions to the development and advancement of the profession, and his or her contribution to PMI during the previous calendar year.

Each nominee's contribution must:

1. Help recognize PMI as the world's leader in project management through activities completed in the previous calendar year (2010 for the 2011 award)

2. Expand and advance the knowledge, use and application of project management

3. Demonstrate broad, far-reaching implications for the profession

Nominees may work in any field, including but not limited to business and academia.

For the complete list of eligibility requirements and biographical information on Dr. Stuckenbruck, please download the nomination guidelines.

Nominations for the 2011 PMI Linn Stuckenbruck Person of the Year must be received at the PMI Global Operations Center by Friday, 1 April 2011.

Talk to your project team and PMI chapter colleagues about nominating a PMI member: four to six members must join together to nominate a candidate for this award.  

No one knows excellence in project management like you and your peers. Nominate a deserving colleague today.

Is Your Project Among the Best of the Best?

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There's no shortage of project failures in the news. So it's especially important to recognize the excellence, innovation and hard work that go into completing a successful project. There's no better way to do so than by nominating your project for the coveted PMI Project of the Year Award.

Established in 1989, the award is among the most prestigious honors in the project management profession. But you must act quickly -- nominations for the 2011 PMI Project of the Year must be received by Tuesday, 1 March 2011.

PMI encourages nominations for projects from around the world, regardless of size or industry. The winner will be announced in October at PMI® Global Congress 2011--North America in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

Last year The National Ignition Facility Project submitted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, USA, took top honors. The finalists included the Dallas Cowboys Stadium Project, built for the U.S. football team in Texas and the Norton Brownsboro Hospital Project in Kentucky, USA.

Receiving a professional award will enhance your résumé or CV and your career prospects. And Project of the Year is just one of many ways to showcase your successes -- you can also join in the bid for other 2011 PMI Professional Awards.

Excellence in project management can't be celebrated without your help. All of the awards require your nominations for a person, project, organization, training product or literature.

The nomination deadline for other PMI Professional Awards is 1 April 2011. Submissions for the 2011 PMI Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award and the PMI Distinguished Project Award are accepted throughout the year.

Have you submitted your nomination for a PMI award yet?

In Celebration of Project Managers

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One of the attendees at the Fifth PMI National Congress held recently in Brazil said something that really resonated with me: "I want people on my team who truly believe in the project." That statement is so simple and yet so elegant. It made me think of the project that my company is working on now: International Project Management Day 2010.

A senior consultant at IIL, Frank P. Saladis, PMP, created the idea for this day of recognition and acknowledgment of project managers worldwide.

Now in its seventh year, the event brings together project management thought-leaders in a virtual conference accessible to anyone and everyone around the world.

Gregory Balestrero, president and CEO of PMI, and Harold Kerzner, PhD, will each deliver a keynote address. The event launches on 4 November, and attendees can earn up to 11 free professional development units (PDUs) for participating. There will also be a virtual recognition booth where you can name people you think are great project managers.

This project is a joy, but often a challenge, for all of us to pull together and make it happen. We do it to help realize the goal and intention of the special day: to make sure that all of you are being celebrated. It's certainly a project that every one of us truly believes in and is proud to be a part of.

Head over now -- it's not too late for you to join in the celebration. If you can't make it, the content will be up for three months and you can still earn those precious (and price-less) PDUs.

Tribute to a Giant in the Field -- Report from the PMI Research Conference

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The PMI Research and Education Conference that wrapped up yesterday in Washington, D.C. is getting rave reviews from everyone involved -- including trainers, university educators, students and practitioners -- groups that are represented in record-high numbers. Altogether, more than 550 people have attended over the course of four days.

Tuesday night was one of the highlights of the conference. As part of the 2010 research awards ceremony, PMI paid tribute to a project management icon -- David Cleland, PhD, PMP and PMI Fellow.

Many people gave audio or video tributes to Dr. Cleland, an instructor and author who has been in the field for more than 40 years. Among those who paid tribute were Gene Bounds, PMP, PMI Chair; Rebecca Winston, former chair; Dr. Cleland's frequent co-author, Bopaya Bidanda, PhD; Mike Rapach, PMP, PMI Pittsburgh Chapter President; and Larry Hager, senior editor for McGraw-Hill Companies. This was an appropriate venue for the tribute, as Dr. Cleland was a co-founder of the PMI Research Conference.

Among the comments were that Dr. Cleland was the writer of the definitive text of the profession for two generations of project managers. Dr. Bidanda said that every project manager knows Dr. Cleland because of the volume, quality and content of his books.

PMI's knowledge strategy was built on foundations created by Dr. Cleland, added Mr. Bounds. "He helped shape the project management profession as much as anyone alive today," he said.

Others honored with awards at the ceremony included Professor Janice Thomas, PhD, receiving the 2010 PMI Research Achievement Award; Terence Cooke-Davies, PhD; Lynn Crawford and Thomas Lechler, PhD, for the 2010 Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award; and Jefferson Leandro Anselmo, PhD, PMP for the PMI Student Poster Award.

Greg Balestrero, president and CEO of PMI, set the bar for this conference with his opening remarks. "It's all about the pipeline," he said. The pipeline is "your involvement from when you first think about the profession to your retirement." Training and academia is an extremely important part of feeding the pipeline, meeting the demand of organizations and government agencies, and making the profession vibrant and growing.

Attendees were excited to hear a plenary talk by one of the biggest names in management strategy research, Kathleen Eisenhardt, PhD, discussing case study research and how best to employ it.

The Monday plenary was a panel discussion on project management in government, much appreciated by the many practitioners from the local Washington area attending.

New for this year's conference was student presentations of 20 minutes in length -- time enough for doctoral candidates to get great feedback from the audience. Professional poster sessions were also new.

One practitioner who attended from the Netherlands was thrilled to be there. Daniel Amunwa, PMP, said, "it's fascinating to see that whimsical thoughts I may have had about project management have already been addressed by academics and taken to a higher level." Mr. Amunwa, a newer PMI member, said he's "proud to be a part of this organization that holds such a tremendous conference, and I wouldn't expect anything less."

See more on special recognition and awards bestowed at the conference.

What Makes a Good Project Manager?

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I think the mark of a good project manager starts with how they manage projects.

In April, the Institute of Taiwanese Project Management gave out its first 10 Outstanding Chinese Project Managers awards. The winners and candidates were examples of what defines a good project manager.
In general, most of the project managers who caught the selection board's attention managed efforts that were:

•    Completed within budget and on time, sticking to their scope and quality
•    In line with the client company's business objectives or ambitions
•    A benefit to the economy, society or local community

Good project managers also have commitment and determination -- a common characteristic of the 10 award winners. Their background, education and work history all showed they were individuals who, when they committed to doing something, would do all that was possible to get the work completed, even when others wanted to give up.

I also realized during the award-selection process that good project managers are a driving force in our society. Their constant, ongoing completion of projects keeps our economy active and competitive.

Whether these are large telecom projects (such as the installation of China's countrywide broadband network) or smaller ecology projects (such as reducing the carbon emissions of homes or businesses), the project managers leading these efforts are all doing important work that improves our society and our economy.

It is only through their planning, execution and management skills, as well as their commitment and determination, that any project can be completed efficiently and effectively.

If you know excellent project managers who deserve to be recognized, consider nominating them in next year's PMI Professional Awards.

To all you project managers silently toiling away -- possibly thinking "these awards have nothing to do with me!" -- I would like to praise your work: You are the real driving force in society. Never underestimate how important your contribution is!

Putting the PMBOK® Guide in a Cultural Context

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A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is developed by hundreds of volunteers to represent generally accepted good practices in project management. But is this enough?

There are already extensions to the PMBOK®Guide for the construction industry and government that expand the basic framework to meet the needs of these sectors. Is there a need for extensions to meet the needs of different cultures?

The value of diversity and the challenges of managing culturally diverse teams was the focus of Tom Sullivan's feature article "Common Ground" in the October issue of PM Network®. My column in the November edition of PM Network, "Culture Shock," highlights some contractual issues that impacted a major mine development. As projects and teams become more global, managing appropriately within and across cultural boundaries is a key project management skill.

Although there's no right or wrong in culture, different societies resolve challenges in different ways and use very different structures to communicate information within businesses and projects.

As PMI moves toward the start of the next PMBOK® Guide update project, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss issues and challenges of managing projects in a cultural context. Do we need cultural extensions to the PMBOK® Guide or is there more value in retaining it as a core definition of good practices that apply worldwide?

I've had my say in PM Network, now it's your turn to weigh in. Over to you!

Harold Kerzner: Project Managers Must Understand Business

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Project managers are in for some big changes. Coming in on schedule and within budget is all well and good--but it's not enough.

That's been the running mantra for a while now, but it seems to be gaining even more traction as Harold Kerzner, PhD, explained in the first-ever closing session at a PMI global congress in North America.

"Time and cost used to drive all decisions," said Dr. Kerzner, senior executive director, project management at the International Institute for Learning Inc. "Now we're saying, 'Wait a minute, are we providing value?'"

Without that, the project will be axed.

"If management doesn't see how a project will deliver a value, that project will be canceled even if it's meeting time and budget constraints," he said.

Not all constraints have equal value, Dr. Kerzner said.

That's quite a mind shift for project managers--and it's going to take a whole new skill set.

Indeed, Dr. Kerzner boldly predicted earned value management will be "obsolete very shortly," upstaged by value measurement methodologies that consider intangibles such as goodwill or reputation.

And while a mastery of technical knowledge use to suffice, that's now considered "old school."

"Project managers must understand business," he told the crowd.

They will also need an understanding of politics, culture/religion, stakeholders and people. And Dr. Kerzner predicted a new wave of certifications in complex projects, virtual teams, cultural differences and morality and ethics.

Project managers who go in armed with those skills will find a receptive audience in the executive crowd.

"The biggest change in the last several years has been in senior management support of project management," he said. "Senior management no longer views project management as a career path. It is now viewed as a strategic competence necessary for survival of the company."

Do you agree with Dr. Kerzner? Are you seeing increased demand for business understanding--or should project managers stick to what they do best?

T. Boone Pickens Talks to PMI Today®

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Project managers have to express authority, legendary oil and gas executive T. Boone Pickens said in an exclusive interview in the September issue of PMI's member publication PMI Today.

Founder and chairman of BP Capital Management and author of The First Billion of the Hardest, Mr. Pickens will serve as the keynote speaker for PMI Global Congress 2009--North America. 

In the PMI Today interview, Mr. Pickens discusses everything from innovation to leadership.

Here are some highlights:

On his predictions for growth in the alternative energy sector--and the chance of a bust like the dot-com industry:
Sure, you could have a runaway for awhile, but I think renewable energy is here to stay. There is an opportunity to make money and develop new products in the sector. If we get 200,000 megawatts going in the Great Plains, it is unbelievable what it would do for the economy, jobs and taxes in the small and mid-sized communities, which have lost population over the past several decades. It can all be done with the right leadership.

On what advice he has for project managers:
You have to express authority. You can't just tell everyone to go do their best and then sit back. You are in a role where you can direct. ...

On what project managers thinking of turning to consulting should keep in mind:
Hang out your own shingle. Don't figure out what you are making by the hour because it will make you cry. Go out on your own, double your time, work harder and make it your own. Suck it up and know you are able to accomplish what you want to do.

PMI members can read the full interview in the digital edition of PMI Today on PMI.org.

Agility in Amsterdam

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I am just back from the PMI Global Congress 2009--EMEA in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

PMI seemed focused on the environment--with a keynote emphasizing the need to be more green--and on the value of project management, with the Research Working Session and a few tracks by PMI personnel on the subject.

The majority of tracks, however, seemed to hit on different topics, including:

1.    People issues, like decision-making, leadership, communication, culture, politics and stakeholder management
2.    The strategic link of projects, like organizational project management, project selection, portfolio and program management and the PMO
3.    Agile

I think this last one is a growing trend in project management.

Many of the concepts of Agile can be traced back to fast-track construction projects, where basic principles like co-location, fast prototyping, iterative development, daily orientation meetings and other concepts were developed.

In IT, the Agile methods evolved in the mid-1990s in reaction to what is called the "waterfall model," a sequential approach to programming.

In 2001, 17 prominent thinkers of what were then called "lightweight methods" issued the Agile Manifesto, which states four basic principles:

•    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
•    Working software over comprehensive documentation
•    Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
•    Responding to change over following a plan

Although, in a way, Agile seems to be the antithesis of project management, as explained in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), it can be very advantageous to use it in turbulent and strategic settings.

As project management is used more and more to manage strategic change and projects become more complex, Agile principles will influence more and more the management of projects, and more specifically, program management.

More in my next post ...

Raise Your Voice

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No one knows project management better than you, the practitioners in the trenches. For months, you've been weighing in on the blog.

Well, here's your chance to have your voice heard in PM Network.

Every month, the magazine will run a Voices on Project Management column. Project managers will share ideas, experiences and opinions on everything from trends to new methods of doing things.

If you're interested in contributing, please e-mail us your idea.

Check out the debut column by Peter Taylor, PMP, weighing in on the pressure for PMOs to perform in tough economic times.

Let Me Introduce Myself ...

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In this very first post, I would like to introduce myself. I am currently in London, England, where we had the biggest snowfall in 20 years this week.
    I started my professional life as an architect in Montréal, Canada in 1974; as such, I worked within a project environment from the beginning. Architects traditionally represent their clients and are expected to act "in lieu" of the client in their relationship with the authorities (planning department, construction permit department, etc.) other professionals (engineers, urban planners, landscape architects, interior designers, etc.) and with contractors (suppliers, building trades). After having worked in most areas of my profession, from urban planning to architectural programming, design, specifications writing and site supervising, I decided that it was time to integrate all this knowledge. So I opened my own practice and started developing turnkey projects for my clients. This meant that I needed to look at the bigger picture. It also meant that I needed to work in harmony with all the players of the project.
    After a few years, I joined a larger firm that shared this philosophy and became their director of development. That is when I started calling myself a project manager and that is also when I became member of PMI and got my Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential.    
    During that time we developed a recognized expertise in fast-track construction. Many of these fast-tracking techniques were later adopted by IT/information sciences and are today known as "agile and iterative development." As our expertise became recognized, we got to work on large, multiphased construction projects and started to develop a reputation for pragmatic and effective long-term planning and development. Today, this type of expertise would be called program management.
    In 1996, I moved to the United Kingdom with my family. After more than 20 years of working in construction, I became a management consultant and have since practiced in a wide range of industries. I have come to realize that many organizations still don't understand how to integrate their project components to their business practices. This is especially true of the end-to-end process necessary to implement strategic decisions, realize benefits and, ultimately, create value. I intend to address these issues in my posts and hope that you will be interested in commenting.
    I travel extensively and will therefore write from different locations around the world. I am preparing to leave for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the PMI Global Congress (where I will present a paper on the comparison between the three most recognized program management standards) and then deliver a 2-day seminar for SeminarsWorld®.

Credential Milestone

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Roger Chou, Taiwan-based CEO of Advanced Business Consulting and founder of the Institute of Taiwan Project Management, recently became the first person in Asia to receive PMI's Program Management Professional (PgMP®) credential. We recently discussed what earning the certification means to him and what it could mean for the region.

Why did you pursue the PgMP credential?
    Over the last three years, I have trained over 2,300 [Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential holders], boosting the number of qualified managers in Taiwan to 5,388. This brought us into the top eight countries of PMP-certified project managers in the year 2008--overtaking Germany and Great Britain, which were originally the 8th and 9th place.
    But I wondered if the PgMP [credential] could help Taiwanese enterprises cope with the worldwide economic downturn. I observed successful international enterprises survive previous economic hardships--what strategies did they use? I analyzed what they had done, and found they had produced synergies between their projects through portfolio strategies. Soon I realized these were lessons learned from PgMP [credential].
    We can see the PgMP credential philosophy behind such successes as Nintendo's new Wii video game console, Sony's range of stylish consumer electronics, like Vaio laptops and Bravia digital TVs, and Apple's iPhone, combining mobile phone, PDA, music player, video player, and digital camera functionalities all into one.
    Unlike the PMP [credential], whose target audience are project managers, the PgMP [credential] is aimed at senior managers, such as company CEOs. The PgMP [credential] exam is concerned mainly with how to do things in the most effective way (especially with large programs), ... improve competitiveness, and, more importantly, guide business leaders on how best to coordinate projects to produce the greatest synergy.

Why is continuing education and training important to you?
I think if you want to stay on top of the world, you should always work to improve yourself by accepting challenges, which will certainly help you survive this economic downturn.

How does it feel to be the first Chinese manager in Asia with this certification?
It is absolutely an honor. It is almost an impossible mission for Chinese managers to obtain PgMP certification. I have read through 13 textbooks in English, which is a tough challenge even for native English speakers.
    My mother tongue is not English, and passing an exam that even native English speakers find difficult means a lot to managers throughout Asia. It signifies that as long as we are willing to make the effort, and use the right method, we can do anything.

Editor's Note: Find out more all of PMI's credentials by visiting PMI.org.

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with — or even disagree with — leave a comment.

All posts represent the opinions of the bloggers.

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Keep checking back because the voices for this blog will continue to grow and change to represent a variety of regions, industries and opinions.

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