Project Management Institute

PMI Update: My First Year

9 March 2020

It seems like only yesterday that I started my tenure at the Project Management Institute.

Yet here we are, one year on and I have to say, it continues to be a pleasure to work with a global team, so dedicated as you all are to the relevant profession that is—Project Management.

Our work influences other professions, governments, industries, innovators, individuals, academia, youth and so on, the list is endless….and our work is thrilling. I’m reminiscing moments and milestones of my first year at PMI with immense pride and happiness and I wanted to share some thoughts with you all. I’m not sure where to start so, in no structural order here goes…

Launching our new Brand and walking onto stage at PMI Global Conference in front of 5,000 plus people (in a hoody and jeans) was an iconic moment for me and for PMI. Hats off to all those that worked diligently to land our new branding from the concepts through to the design and the launch. Perfectly executed.

CEO Sunil Prashara on stage at 2019 PMI Global Conference

Proudly introducing PMI's new brand!

Another memorable moment, the Africa Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. During the evening dinner with African Chapter leaders and teams, we all jumped to the dance floor and started to slowly follow the dance moves of the Cameroon Chapter. Soon the whole dance floor was an impeccable display of immense potential. Chapters from various parts of Africa, with different challenges, cultures, issues coming together under a single banner, in unison—It led to the now common PMI chant of “One Team-One Song-One Dance.” So emotional!! To top it all, we announced that we had just passed over 150,000 project management hours pledged towards advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, exemplifying to the world our sense of purpose and social responsibility.

There were many similar moments over the last twelve months, break dancing with the youth in Brazil at the LATAM 50th Celebrations in front of a rocking live band of volunteers and showing the young and juniors that they are as important to our Project Management community as the more experienced. At the EMEA LIM in Dublin, again dancing India Bhangra to Irish River Dance music, showing all that even though we may have different origins we are united by our destination as one.

But along with the global celebrations of our 50th and the brand launch we were also working very hard indeed. Whilst some were focusing on our stakeholders, outreaches and members, others were working on building for the future (and in some cases, working on both). With a keen eye on the next 50 years, we embarked on a mission to find the next most relevant aspects of Project Management to maintain our relevance. We acquired Disciplined Agile (DA) and Flex such that, along with our own ACP certification, we entered deeper into the Agile market and we did it in a flash.

We didn’t stop there, we started to explore new frameworks and methods of Project Management, looking beyond agile. This took us to Citizen Developer and Lean Construction frameworks—more about this in 2020. We launched Snippets and Navigator tools, we co-created tools with members of the Global Executive Council like Baseline, which we launched in early 2020. We started to look above and beyond into what exactly will be the evolution of the Project Management profession. With the work our strategy, research and content teams did on the Pulse of the Profession, the Signpost Report and other research from some of the world’s top thinkers about work of the future, we launched The Project Economy—our view that the whole world is becoming projectified. Mid way through 2019 we started to show we are visionary and credible thought leaders in the new ways of working and the skills and mindset needed in the future to turn ideas into reality.

Building the Future

This increase in our relevance meant that we knew the demand for what we do will increase. Yet our systems and processes were able to handle only our current workload. We knew we needed to upgrade, and PMI 2.0 was to help us do just that. We created the Hot Bricks program and pivoted towards implementing the systems we need for the future… An ERP system, a CRM system and better workflows to help us become more efficient and ready for the next generation of Project Management. A mammoth effort, led by many staff leaders and supported by KPMG, our partners and practitioners in transformation.

And there is more…

Again, whilst we were looking at our future, the future of the profession and the investments we needed to make – we continued to support our amazing chapters across the globe. We launched a website that the Chapters could use as their own blue print, we started to pilot local currency billing in Brazil and India—but most important we began the journey of Regionalization—bringing us closer to our stakeholders. In 2019 we split our operations into eight regions; North America, LATAM, India, China, APAC, MENA, Africa and Europe and appointed Regional Directors to look after all PMI activities in these regions. A big move and a sure sign to our Chapters that they are not only important but crucial to our future.

You may have heard me say during 2019 that the volunteers are our “secret sauce”. Not only do they provide up to date relevance and insights as subject matter experts for our certifications and qualifications but they advocate the profession across the globe, they support and run many of our events, they help with day to day operations, they both support and drive our strategy, they govern our operations and our ethical standards. Volunteers make such a significant impact that without them or their passion we would not be PMI. Passion beats profit any day!

In the midst of the frenetic activity in PMI that was 2019, there were a number of sad moments as many of you would know. I lost my mentor mid-way through the year, Mr Ross Perot (the founder of EDS). Then later in the year, I lost my father and father-in-law in quick succession and we all lost several co-workers and volunteers during the year. Sobering moments and a reminder to all that it’s people that come first and we broadly have the choice to do whatever we want to yet to find the time to spend with loved ones is precious and often, sadly, finite.

So…to end on a strong note… 2019 was for all intents and purpose an amazing year for me and for PMI. I am up the learning curve; we have been and continue to be on an incredible and meaningful journey. 2020 and beyond will be as exciting as we consolidate our position as the world’s premier association—the “go to place for all things Project” for everyone – whether you’re five years old or seventy-five… We will endow life skills and couple them with state-of-the-art PM skills and beyond. We will be relevant thought leaders across industries, governments and academia as the world comes to terms with the new ways of working.

We, already have achieved an important milestone by crossing more than 1 million PMPs certification holders worldwide. Today we are over 500 employees spanning across 17 countries and growing.  We hope to be a lot more by moving forward and implementing a new strategic plan called PMI 4.0 designed to super charge our growth and relevance.

So… much more to come.

CEO Sunil Prashara with staff

PMI is Family!

Last but not least, I would like to call out the entire PMI staff team from customer services to Finance, from HR, Legal and IT to Sales, Marketing, Communications and Business Development. From Brand, Content and Strategy to Events, Certification teams and Liaison Officers. From Chapter and Volunteer support teams and the PMIEF to the Brightline team and beyond….from management, ELT and facilities to the cleaners and all.

You all make this ecosystem tick. I’m proud to be your CEO … you are my new family…

Onwards amigos,
Sunil