The Project Notebook

Amazing Colleagues

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Project Management Institute, the “world’s leading organization for the project management profession“. I recently returned from the Leadership Institute Masters Class 2010 and the North American Leadership Meeting, two events in Orlando Florida which preceeded the North American Congress. I’ve personally reached the 9 year mark of volunteering with the Institute and had an opportunity to reflect on the amazing colleagues I have within the organization.

The LIMC 2010 is comprised of 23 leaders from 7 countries (10+ if you count country of origin, rather than residence) over 5 continents. This is perhaps one of the most distinguished groups of project executives and directors, board members, authors, and speakers that I have ever had the privilege working with. Our facilitation included studies of leadership styles, strengths, trusted relationships, and building sustainable organizations.

The Leadership Institute Meeting was attended by more than 720 leaders from 38 countries. These are just a fraction of the 5,000 volunteer leaders worldwide that interact with the 305,000+ members (from 180+ countries) and over half a million stakeholders from an estimated market of 16 million project management practitioners. The keynote and closing speaker was Dr. Gary Bradt, author of The Ring in the Rubble”. Paricipants had an opportunity to learn and share in three tracks – Association Governance, Institutional Knowledge, and Individual Leadership Development. I had the opportunity to facilitate a governance session on external relationships and later, with co-presenter Richard Polendey from Honolulu, offered leaders a way for “Governance Made Easy” through operational tools and templates.

Throughout the next year, I will be working with the LIMC 2010 group and my learning group. There is a physical meeting in Scottsdale in April and our final meeting and graduation will be in Washington DC next October. My learning group team is considering developing a presentation on transitioning an operational board of directors to a strategic board of a sustainable community. I’m looking forward to the path ahead.

If you would like amazing colleagues too, then visit the Project Management Institute and consider volunteering.

It’s Official!!

I have two very important announcements from The Project Notebook:

1) I’ve been selected by the Project Management Institute to participate in a group of 25 volunteer leaders from around the globe in the 2010 PMI Leadership Institute Masters Class (LIMC). This is a year long program scheduled to begin October 5-7 2009 in Orlando Florida. The program consists of three physical meetings in addition to virtual participation.

The class experience includes:
· Participant Evaluations: LIMC participants will complete a 360-degree Assessment. Additional psychometric tools and assessments will also be incorporated into the program.
· Coaching: Individual coaching sessions will be provided to each participant.
· Virtual Leadership Forums: Participants are provided with an ongoing and open forum for continued learning and discussion between the face to face meetings.

2) My next offering of Controlling Project Costs and Risks Online through UCSD Extension begins the week of October 5 too! This online course is delivered by the UCSD BlackBoard Learning System.

Project control is simplified by good planning from the start. Explore project selection, evaluation, initiation, and the planning that follows. Discuss project scope and its relationship to costs, as well as the cost estimating process. Learn how simple but effective tools, like MS Excel and MS Project, can help control project costs. You will also study risk management – including the nature of risk factors; methods of assessing and estimating impact of risk; and ways of avoiding or mitigating risks. Other topics include monitoring and reporting, sustaining commitment, resource reallocation, balancing time versus quality, performance measurement and change management.

Controlling Project Costs and Risks is now in its 7th year and offered fully online. The next online class begins on Monday, October 5th for 10 weeks. Enhance your project management career or complete the PM Certificate requirements for UCSD Extension. For more information or to enroll in the class, please visit Controlling Project Costs and Risks at UCSD Extension.

Denver 2008: Its About Value

I just returned from the 2008 PMI Leadership Institute Meeting in Denver. While many different topics and discussions take place, the keynote and the buzz was about value. This year marks the completion of a four-year study with 48 researchers and over 100 volunteers investigating the value of Project Management.

The study defined value, including its tangible and intangible components. After analyzing all the case studies and facts, a key conclusion was that there was no one value or one single way to implement Project Management. In addition to positive financial impacts, other values include improved strategic function. As a result, the value received changes over time.

If the value comes from critical judgement and strategic function and not just implementation of standard practices, then Project Managers need to recognize the need to evolve and adapt. As a result of the study, it will be possible to develop a process to provide guidance on what implementations provide value. I’ll have more about the meeting next week.

With 700+ Component Leaders, 144 of 251 Chapters, and 33 of 35 countries in attendance, PMI members and practitioners will be well positioned to provide Project Management values to stakeholders. As Philip Diab, PMI Chair put it, we all have a common core value in our belief that Project Management can make a difference in the world.

PMP® Credential: The Chicken or Egg?

Fellow blogger Fadi El-Eter contacted me this morning to let me know an article on earning a PMP credential which I had on his site, PM Hut, had a question in a comment and invited me to provide an anwer. For those of you who are unaware, the Project Management Institute has been raising the bar for earning a PMP credential at regular intervals. When I took the exam in 2000, the language around qualifications was a lot looser. Although I had plenty of experience managing projects and leading teams, many were able to get by with simply doing project work.

The tighter qualifications now require managing projects and leading teams as an eligibility requirement, leading Brian P. Branagan to post the following question:

Again and again, we see that companies do not allow a candidate to manage a project without PMP certification. You emphasize that one is not eligible to take the examination without project management experience. Something must be allowed to come first. What helpful thing can you say about this?

My response:

While its true in the past, you only had to work on projects, the September 2008 PMI PMP Certification Handbook now states:

The PMP Role Delineation states that candidates for the PMP credential:

• Perform their duties under general supervision and are responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project

• Lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule,budget, and scope

• Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and experience to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined project requirements and deliverables

The key phrase here is “under general supervision”. When I first became a Project Manager 25 years ago, my manager, himself an experienced Project Manager who moved into a management slot supervised my efforts. Such on the job training is the best route to take to gain the needed experience. Smart companies create internships and mentoring opportunities.

One way to convince your manager you are ready for such an “apprenticeship” would be to earn the CAPM – Certified Associate Project Manager first.

While its an unfortunate truth, there are also still companies which create the “knighted” Project Manager — you get a copy of the MS Project documentation (if you’re lucky!) and are told to “go forth and manage”.

Either way, you can still earn the necessary experience, even though just working on projects isn’t any longer sufficient.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP