– PMI has come a long way sinceit was founded in 1969 as a nonprofit to underpin theproject management profession.
Today it’s a world leaderoperating across the globe supporting project managers,delivering resources, standards, tools, and networks to foster better execution strategiesand talent development.
I’m Andrew Wilson, I’mhere in Davos to speak to PMI ahead of the World Economic Forum.
Welcome to the business debate.
(upbeat music) Okay, Joe thanks very muchindeed for joining us.
Good to talk to you.
– Thanks for having me here today.
– First of all, tell me a bit about the Project Management Institute.
– Sure I’d be more than happy to.
PMI, the Project ManagementInstitute is the worlds leading nonprofit association thatrepresents people that consider themselves projectmanagers, program managers, or portfolio managers as a profession.
– So, talk to us a bit about what a project manager might be.
– Sure, project managersare the key individuals that take ideas and form themor change them into a reality.
So they help executive leaders take their strategies and implement them.
– And that can be in any field? – That’s in any field, there’sno restriction to that.
So, everything from implementinga software solution product into the market to building a dam would utilize project management skills.
– And by and large that wouldbe somebody that works within that company who mightcome to you for training or who might use yourmaterials to help advance his understanding ofhow to do the best job? – Primarily that is true, Theywork within the companies or they work as consultants thatconsult with those companies.
– How might a company strugglethese days if it doesn’t have efficient or satisfactoryproject management? – We found in our researchthat companies do struggle if they don’t have properproject management.
In fact we found that amillion dollars is lost every twenty seconds becausecompanies fail to implement the strategies due topoor project management.
– That’s a lot of time wasted, and a lot of money wasted isn’t it? – Absolutely, I always lookat from the perspective of the outcomes aren’t happening, right? So, the company’s intent orthe organization’s intent for certain outcomesand any time they fail they’ve put themselves behind the curve.
– So is that a question ofinertia or inefficiency? – I would say it’s inertia and leadership and inefficiency, it’s all three, right? So, we found also that executiveleadership which we call executive sponsorship is verykey to successive projects, to tie the executive Clevel all the way down through the initiative so that they get the support that they need to succeed.
– Now since PMI started in the60’s as a nonprofit offering this kind of insight intoproject management you’ve really grown, which means theremust be an enormous demand for these kind of skills? – Absolutely, in fact thisyear is our 50th anniversary as an association, so we’rereally proud of that coming up later in the year and whatwe’ve found through the years, we have a great success,but we’re gonna continue to have more success becauseof the rapid pace of change.
Our project managersare right in the middle of change initiative, that’swhat they do every day.
So, they’re well positionedto be adaptive in this new environment of highlydisruptive technology.
– Warsaw is part of theproblem that people don’t see project management asa profession in itself, that it’s always been historically done by collaboration of otherprofessions within an industry.
– I would say definitely.
I would say that we as an association that we have succeeded in actually forming the profession andsupporting the profession.
In going forward projectmanagement is becoming more ubiquitous in the sense thatit’s becoming more of a skill for even people that are notconsidered project managers they’re managing projectswithout that title.
– I’ve heard you mentionbefore digital disruption, what other kind of head windsthat operate against companies trying to get theirexecution strategies right? – Well, it’s all about change right? So, and the adoption ofchange and as I mentioned project managers by theirvery nature are always in the middle of change,so we feel and we know that going forward withall this rapid pace change, project management isintegral to get things from the idea into the reality realm.
– Is that a themehere, like for example at a conference likeDavos that idea of change, the idea of adapting,staying ahead of the curve? – Absolutely, I meanit’s critical for all of the initiatives here in Davosin terms of the economic progress that everybody wants to make, every country wants to make,the world wants to make.
Projects are a part of all that,whether it’s infrastructure or whether it’s in thesoftware realm or just in water conservation and bringingclean water to the world.
– Tell me a bit about something that’s in your literature a lot the talent triangle.
– Sure, the talent triangleis a mechanism we use to describe what is neededby a project manager as an individual to succeedas a project manager.
So, it’s been learned over decades, right? So, the talent trianglehas technical component, technical project management skills, there’s a leadershipcomponent as you would expect and then there’s a strategyand business component.
And you need all three to bea successful project manager.
A lot of times the technicalskills are the more, the easier one to establish or to attain, it’s the others, the softerskills which are more difficult.
– Is that because of the generalbackground project managers tend to come from they tendto favor their earlier skills? – Well, there’s some fundamentalthings you need to know about project management inorder to be a project manager.
So, you have to start withthose technical skills, but you can’t succeed unless you know how to lead a team through change.
– So for example if you havean engineering firm that has a consistent history of structuralprojects, bridge building, tower building, foundationdigging, whatever they’re working on that project manager hasbeen handling that for the five or six years successfully,then they start to look at something like a software challenge, could that project manager then switch to that or would you needa different kind expertise? – Well, we’ve learned through the years and we’ve provided the support through the years to provide moretraining for agility.
Agility or agile has been atrend that’s been going on for 10 years and our projectmanagers in the context that you just discussed have to be trained and skilled into that agile world because of the more traditionalapproach was very structured.
With a more agile approach inthe software development these individuals need toadopt different practices but we feel strongly thatthose different practices are needed and you have to adapt to each project need whether you need an agile approach or a more traditional approachor little mix of both.
– And how much of what you’relooking at is applicable today or are you thinking downthe line, 10 years time, 20 years time will things change again? – Well, things are changing as we speak.
The rapid change that we’reexperiencing right now, there’s new ways ofworking in organizations and we are adapting along withthose new ways of working.
In fact in terms of we dowe are supporting those individuals, the projectmanagers throughout their career.
So, we will adapt with themand make sure that they’re properly tooled to work inthese new organizations.
– And final thought then, looking down the line are you optimistic,do you like the way people are adopting the new skills,the way project managers are working with the sortof ideas you’re putting out, that they are movingthings forward in a way that you can see makes sense? – Well, I’m very optimistic,in fact every time we reenact magazine about disruptionand change it makes me feel well positioned as an associationand well positioned for the individuals that we supportbecause that’s what they do.
They orchestrate change day in and day out and we will support themalong their career lifecycle to be the leaders of the change.
We feel that there’sgonna be much more demand for change just intuitively and otherwise.
Project management skills aregonna be ubiquitous throughout the world and whether you’rea project manager or not.
– Joe thanks very muchindeed, good to talk to you.
– Thank you (upbeat music).