Saadi Adra

Current Job/Title: Founder and CEO of ADVISORS

Industry: Consulting and Training

Academic and Professional Credentials: PMP®, PfMP, PgMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, OPM3, EVP, SIP, MB F/P/T PhD in Project and Programme Management from SKEMA Business School in France, Winner of PMIef Snyder Award

  1. How do you describe the role of project manager to your friends and family?

    All of us, through our various activities and different field of work, manage project(s) and work to successful conclusions and achieving results. In our daily life, we are all project managers in a sense, which is quite different from a career project manager. The career project manager manages projects as his main professional role at work; his/her company relies on his/her work and skills to lead successful projects, ultimately enhancing revenue or achieving some benefits for the organization.

    1. How do you apply and benefit from your management skills in your life?

      There are five important areas that are leveraged in our daily life, which are:
      • Risk Management
      • Sound Governance
      • Communications Management
      • motional Intelligence

      1. Stakeholders management: Project managers need to identify the critical and key stakeholders properly, negotiate, be persuasive, and always ensure they are engaged and providing active support for a successful project. You need to leverage your power with stakeholders in order to get their buy-in, and the best type of power is expert power because nobody can take that from you, and it gets stakeholders to want to collaborate with you in the first place.
      2. Communication Management: clear communication, whether in projects or life, increase collaboration and reduces conflicts.
      3. Emotional Intelligence: technical knowledge is not enough, you also need to use your interpersonal skills to achieve in projects and in life. This is where you make decisions that are “politically” right, and sometimes refrain from saying certain things as well. All three EI, communications and stakeholder management are interlinked skills.
      4. Risk Management: Excelling at risk management usually help projects achieve their objective, and enhance readiness for unknowns, and the same applies in life. Things will not work as perceived, nor as planned, so the risk-enabled person has better readiness and resilience to withstand higher waves and still prevail.
      5. Governance: Using governance allows each team member to identify his/her roles and responsibilities and it is a key to making proper decision making, it properly organizes the relation of the different resources working together and it reduces conflict. Similarly, in life, understanding boundaries, politics and being accountable and highly responsible earns you trust and integrity, two very essential traits for leaders.
    2. How did project management credentials help in advancing your career and knowledge?

      I took PMP in 2006; I used to manage projects through my own experience but the PMP certification helped me identify the proper approach to work and take proper decisions. I moved to becoming a career project management. After the PMP, I sat for other certifications that map to what I was doing or planned to work on.

      I would like to highlight the importance of selecting the right certification that compliment your experience and help you in doing a better job, never seek certifications just for collecting them, as this will damage your image. Also, never seek a certification you are not ready for yet; for example a project manager with 3 or 4 years experience is entitled for PMP, but not for PgMP nor PfMP. When we see inexperienced people attain highly regarded certifications, with no proper experience to support the entitlement, this young person loses the much sought for integrity and professionalism, and leads to losing possible job opportunities rather than having the certification as an aid to get better jobs.

      Thus to focus on learning what you need: learn something you can implement. The biggest knowledge acquired is through applying it and enhancing your experience (be a practitioner).

      In 2013, I completed my doctorate in project management SKEMA business school; It played a huge role in my learning journey, as my research covered bridging silos between project management and operations. During the pandemic I got the Strategy Implementation Professional, which offers good knowledge for both project managers and operations to upskill their competencies for higher positions. In 2021, I became the first and only accredited trainer for Managing Benefits by APMG. Benefits are the rational why we need projects in the first place, and play an essential role in enhancing success, higher ROI, and doing more for less. I do not plan to stop learning anytime soon. I only know too little to afford that!

    3. Can you share with us a successful project you have worked on and its lessons learned?

      One of great programs I lead was about establishing a PMO for Municipalities in KSA that handle a portfolio of 8.5 Billion SAR, which was a great success, because we had engaged sponsors and executives, the role of PMO was very clear, communication and collaboration were high and we focused on realizing benefits.

      The PMO helped in providing clear visibility of the overall portfolio of projects and enabled the client to optimize the use of assigned resources on projects and programs.

      The lessons learned from that project are to always start with the end in mind, build scope of work to realize the sustainable impact and actual benefits, and understand the full ecosystem and environment of the project for delivering value back to the organization and community.

    4. Any advice and recommendation you can give to other project managers

      Never stop learning and studying. My PMP was not the peak of my education, but rather the door opener that ignited my appetite for learning more. Always ascribe to agility as a mindset, focus on managing benefits and sustainable results and your project will succeed every time, even if you exceed budget or duration.

      PMP and other certifications are major milestones but I would think of it as the starting milestone, definitely not the end one!
Saadi Adra