Stepping up to meet the challenges of tomorrow
THE WORLD IS CHANGING, and the project management profession continues to unfold as an important contributor to society. PMI's growing membership base reflects this trend. However, no organization can afford to rest on reputation alone. What is considered good today is seen as so-so by tomorrow. Like any enterprise, PMI must focus on finding and seizing the opportunities brought about by change in order to continually achieve excellence.
PMI's organizational effectiveness and ability to adapt and respond to the scope and speed of change will be the single most determining factor in maintaining member satisfaction.
Future Infrastructure and Governance
Identifying the infrastructure necessary to achieve organizational effectiveness was the key objective of the Future Infrastructure and Governance Committee. This Committee continued work throughout 1996 to quantify the functional needs and identify the organizational structure necessary to accommodate and support future PMI membership growth and services.
An Administration Working Group completed work process definitions, the correlation of work processes to products, and defined work process interdependencies. An Executive Working Group confirmed that the identified products and processes did, indeed, reflect the business PMI is in as an organization, and aligned each against PMI's vision and mission for validation. Eight major work processes, representing “the things PMI does” emerged from this self-study. This analysis concluded that PMI:
■ Acts to advance the state of the art in project management
■ Acts as a repository for information that reflects the current state of the practice in project management
■ Maintains standards and certification processes for project management
■ Acts to facilitate education in project management
■ Serves as an information distribution forum for project management
■ Advances the profession of project management
■ Supports the developing community of project managers
■ Conducts administrative and operations functions.
These products and processes now focus PMI on developing the appropriate infrastructure required to meet the current and future needs of the organization. A prototype organizational structure is being proposed and will be discussed with PMI Board members and leaders in 1997. By taking responsibility for its future today, PMI can meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Advancing the State of the Art
In 1996, the much anticipated “Organizational Benefits of Project Management” research project entered into the final stages of completion. This study, conducted and directed by the PMI Educational Research Chair, Professor C. William Ibbs of the University of California at Berkeley, will be available in final form in 1997.
In 1996, PMI continued to support the “Fortune 500 Benchmarking Study” through the efforts of the PMI Research Chair, Frank Toney of the University of Phoenix. The findings of this group are now available through PMI.
For the second year, PMI provided financial support to the International Program on the Management of Engineering and Construction (IMEC) to sponsor a research project being conducted to benchmark the use of project management on mega-construction/engineering projects. The study should be concluded in late 1998/early 1999.
A Repository for Information to Reflect the State of the Practice
The continuous improvement of PMI's periodicals was evident throughout the 1996 year. PM Network was reengineered to further support the information needs and desires of PMI members as specified in reader surveys conducted in 1995 and 1996. PM Network is earning a “must read” reputation, sought by members and respected by advertisers of project management products and services. Advertising sales increased more than 65 percent in 1996, a critical revenue area to offset the cost of producing and delivering quality periodicals to PMI's members.
Plans were initiated to bring the Project Management Journal (PMJ) into conformance with standard research/academic journals. In December 1996, a new PMJ editor,William G. Wells, Jr., was selected to lead the Journal into the next century. Dr. Wells is an associate professor of management science at George Washington University and director of the Master of Science in Project Management degree program.
As a repository for project management related information, PMI's products and services continue to expand. Exciting new products and services introduced and released in 1996 include:
■ A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMI Standards Committee
■ Earned Value Project Management, by Quentin Fleming and Joel Koppelman
■ Human Resource Skills for the Project Manager, by Vijay Verma
■ Power & Politics in Project Management, by Jeffrey Pinto
■ The World's Greatest Project, by Russell Darnall
■ Decision Analysis in Projects, by John Schuyler
■ PMI Publications Library on CD-ROM
■ PMP Certification Personal Study Program, revised edition
■ Global Status of the Project Management Profession, proceedings of the 1995 Global Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana.
PMI publications, as well as more than 400 books on project management and related subjects, have been added and are listed in PMI's Information SourceGuide. Income from sales of publications increased more than 85 percent and support the development of future products and services.
Maintaining Standards and Certification Processes
Standards. The release of the PMI standards document A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) in 1996 highlighted the successful results of the work compiled by PMI's Standards Committee. As part of PMI's commitment to the profession, a free copy of this premier document is sent to all PMI members and is also made available on the World Wide Web. PMI's visionary goal is to get the PMBOK Guide into the hands of every project management stakeholder in the world—after all, a standard is only a standard if it is widely recognized, used and accepted by the profession.
Increasing numbers of organizations are adopting the PMBOK Guide to serve as a project management framework. The increasing acceptance and recognition of the PMBOK Guide by individuals within the profession is building momentum in the volume of sales throughout the business world. The document averages sales of more than 2,000 copies each month and translations of the PMBOK Guide into French, Japanese, Russian and Korean are under way. Additional translations into Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese are expected to begin in 1997.
Certification. As increasing numbers of organizations recognize the benefits to be derived from the effective implementation of project management, an increased emphasis is being placed on project management leadership. Consequently, more and more organizations are relying on PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) certification program to evaluate both project management knowledge and competency. As the roles, responsibilities and expectations of the Project Management Professional increase in our society, the PMP certification program must continue to evolve if it is to maintain the value and stature that it has achieved.
The number of applicants applying for certification escalated in 1996, with 5,077 applications received by year-end, compared to 3,234 at year-end 1995. A total of 691 individuals achieved the PMP designation in 1996, to end the year with a total PMP count of 5,768. Recertification is now a concern, as many people who achieved their PMP designation in the early 1990s are either now due to recertify or will be due in the near future.
After much research, study and evaluation, the Certification Committee initiated a number of changes and enhancements in 1996 intended to improve the quality and credibility of the certification process. While many were enthusiastic about the changes and felt the new qualification requirements provided a superior candidate profile, others complained that the new process was too time consuming because it required candidates to provide detailed documentation on their experiences and contributions. The reality, however, remains: Without the detail, candidates cannot be fairly evaluated, and without fair evaluation the PMP looses its value both to those who attain it and to those who use it as a means of evaluating project management knowledge-competency. Falling short of this, PMI could not expect corporations to continue to take the PMP designation seriously, to offer bonuses of up to $5,000 for achieving the PMP, or to take the PMP into consideration when evaluating potential job applicants. Thus, PMI feels confident the improvements initiated during 1996 will add value and credibility to the PMP designation in the short term and in the future.
With so much activity in the Certification area, communication becomes a challenge. PM Network was selected as the most appropriate medium for communicating certification information; therefore, a “Certification Currents” column was established to communicate news to PMI members. The Certification Committee will continue to seek new and effective ways to reach the largest audience, as witnessed by PMI's Web Site at www.pmi.org.
Increased program development activities combined with the increased number of applicants applying for PMP Certification admittedly strained limited resources in 1996 and impacted PMI's internal standards of customer responsiveness and communications. While a core team of volunteers was instrumental in supporting the scoring of Qualifications Applications, it was difficult locating other reliable volunteers to assist and handle the added volume of applications. PMI subsequently took steps to improve its certification program infrastructure and to provide the support necessary to sustain and advance this critical program area—today and into the future.
Acting to Facilitate Education
Professional development is a primary goal of many members and PMI has been working to provide an expanding range of educational opportunities for members and the profession. During 1996, multiple concurrent seminars were held in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia and Seattle. The programs took place between April and September and comprised 27 seminars, each of two to four days in length, for a total of 68 training days. All of the seminars were developed, implemented, and evaluated in accordance with the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) guidelines.
An additional 34 pre- and post-symposium seminars were offered at the PMI ’96 Annual Seminars & Symposium in Boston. The seminars, each of one to two days in length, encompassed topics for project leaders from novice to advanced experience levels. Many of PMI's educational seminars are presented by PMI members who are trainers and/or consultants.
The education program also sponsored a special “Project Management Basics Education Track” during the PMI ’96 Annual Seminars & Symposium. This track utilized materials developed as part of a special “Foundation Series” project. Focusing on the PMBOK Guide, the PM Basics Education Track was the most highly attended track at PMI ’96. Participants’ comments and suggestions will be used to further refine the modules used for this track. The modules will provide the foundation for an Introduction to Project Management courseware package to be made available to chapters and members in the near future.
Serving as an Information Distribution Forum. As an information distribution forum, PMI continues to deliver informative speakers, paper presenters and panel discussions during the Annual Seminars & Symposium. Nearly 2,800 project leaders from around the world gathered in Boston Massachusetts in October 1996 to attend this year's event—a 25 percent increase over 1995 attendance. More than 200 paper sessions were conducted during the two and one-half day symposium portion of the annual event. Papers were offered in 18 technical track areas, covering project management topics ranging from construction and utilities, health care to government, and many in between. The PM Basics, information systems, professional development, and telecommunications tracks were the most popular and highly attended.
For many organizations the World Wide Web is becoming an important information distribution forum and PMI is no exception. In 1996, resources were allocated to the acquisition of hardware and software to support Internet activities and Web development. Strides are continually being taken to maintain and upgrade PMI's Web site, while evaluating additional electronic services such as news groups and domain-based e-mail.
Advancing the Profession
PMI plays a major role in advocating and promoting the profession. Cooperative relations are routinely established with other project management-related associations around the world to promote working relationships for the profession.
The following new Cooperating Organization Agreements were executed in 1996 with:
■ Construction & Economy Research Institute of Korea (CERIK)
■ Defense Systems Management Alumni Association (DSMAA)
■ The Icelandic Project Management Association (VSFI)
■ National Contract Management Association (NCMA)
■ Russian Project Management Association (SOVNET)
■ Ukrainian Project Management Association (UPMA).
Renewed Cooperating Organization Agreements were signed with:
■ Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM)
■ Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
■ International Project Management Association (IPMA).
PM Network • June 1997
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