A case for project management education as a catalyst for sustainable development in developing countries
Department of Project Management Technology, Bells University of Technology,
Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria; Practitioner Member, Chartered Institute of Housing (UK),
Associate, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN).
Dr. A. B. Adeoye
Department of Project Management Technology, Bells University of Technology,
Ota, Ogun State; Nigeria. Member, Nigeria Society of Engineers;
Registered Professional Engineer
Muritala O. Oke
Department of Environmental Management, Crescent University, Abeokuta,
Nigeria; Member, Project Management Institute
Babatunde Omoniyi Odedairo, Engr.
Department of Project Management Technology, Bells University of Technology,
Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria; Member, Nigeria Society of Engineers;
Registered Professional Engineer
Sustainable development and project management might, at first glance seem unrelated. However, when taken with the quest for economic development, the commitment of governments in developing countries to withdraw from direct provision of infrastructures and the consequent emergence of public-private partnerships to deliver major infrastructural projects, linkages can be established between the two. This will be seen from the need to maximize project success in infrastructural projects that will deliver integrated social, economic, and environmental concerns. In this setting, there would be need for the recruiting of multi-disciplinary teams with specialist backgrounds to implement these projects. How is project management as a profession faring in the delivery of a steady stream of experts to carry out needed project management activities in this area? We present evidence that project management is being increasingly seen not as a profession with a clear educational path, but as a skill that can be acquired with experience and as a second-degree specialization. We also present evidence that shows that project management is not highly competitive in tertiary institutions in our Nigerian case study, and this may be as a result of a lack of clear understanding of the profession. We argue that there is an urgent need for harnessing the development potential of project management as a structured profession with a clear educational path; with this, project managers can begin to take on the task of delivering projects that could deliver sustainable development in developing countries.
Sustainable development has evolved as a paradigm to balance the developmental needs of man, to ensure that economic development is achieved without compromise to the environment and with due respect to delicate social balance. Worldwide, with the signing of a few global pacts such as Agenda 21, there is a growing recognition that the quest for sustainable development is an inevitable responsibility for all countries wishing to maximize the wealth of its present and future population. This responsibility is no less important for developing countries, given a number of factors, such as, rapid urbanization, decaying infrastructures, heavy regulation, little growth in productivity with chronic budget deficits, and a preoccupation with meeting the needs of the present by all means, with resulting environmental degradation and exploitation. To ensure rapid growth, a number of measures have been advocated. Indeed, mainstream development theory that advocates for neo-liberalism, which is epitomized by the pulling out of government from direct provision in favor of emerging as a facilitator or enabler of private sector driven participation, as the panacea to underdevelopment in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Developing countries, in turn, are widely accepting this call and in many nations, some form of deregulatory agenda is being established. The most important outcome of this deregulatory agenda is the emergence of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as the preferred delivery structure for major infrastructural projects. Successful delivery of these capital projects is hinged on the quality of human resources that will be assembled, and in as much as project management is the profession saddled with the specialized tools, techniques, and skills needed to deliver project objectives successfully, it is important that there exists, within these countries, a steady and reliable stream of project management manpower, who are by, training and education oriented toward delivering the essential project outcomes important for stakeholders.
The purpose of this paper is to show that there is a need to create a strong, structured educational path for the project management profession in Nigeria. This is necessary because there is currently a gap in the educational system for the training of project management professionals in Nigeria. Thus, the linear career path, which is in operation in several other professions such as accounting, medicine and law, is not currently enjoyed by project management professionals. Neither is there a clearly delineated expert career path, which will allow undergraduate specialization followed by incremental learning and refinement to produce expertise. We therefore ask the following questions:
- Can project management as a discipline act as a catalyst for successful delivery of sustainable development projects in Nigeria?
- What is the state of project management education in Nigeria?
- What are the qualifications needed to practice project management in Nigeria?
We adopt a three-pronged methodology: first, through documentary analysis, we show the clear potential of project management as a catalyst for promoting development through the successful delivery of projects with potential sustainable development outcomes.
Secondly, we establish through a content analysis of major documents to ascertain the current state of studies: How many tertiary institutions are offering project management at the undergraduate level? What is the career path after graduation? What are the competence and skill levels promoted in these schools?
Thirdly, we establish through a survey of employment agencies, the entry qualifications for the post of project managers in the industry. This is to establish the terminal point for an educational qualification in project management.
Taken together, we present evidence that shows that project management is not highly competitive in tertiary institutions, and this may be as a result of a clear understanding of the business of project management. We also present evidence that project management is seen not as a profession with a clear educational path, but as a skill that can be acquired with experience and as a second-degree specialization. We therefore present a framework with which project management education can be used as a catalyst for sustainable development, highlighting potential challenges and opportunities.
This paper proceeds as follows. After this introduction, we examine in some details the two paradigms of interest here: sustainable development and project management. We also examine public-private partnerships as the preferred means of project delivery in developing countries. In this section, we carry out a detailed review of the literature in these fields. We utilize the third section to present and discuss the field research. Section four concludes by proposing the clear educational path that would ensure that project management is maximized as a catalyst for achieving sustainable development.
Conceptualizing the Paradigms
This work is located within the conceptual framework of sustainable development. The paradigm ‘sustainable development’ has its origins in the environmental movement but has acquired significance across all facets of human life from social, to economic and political aspects. Indeed, the last few years have witnessed its acceptance as a challenge to global development expected to be met by national governments. This is exemplified mainly by its adoption at the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro) in May 1992.
Despite this, its definition, measurement, and application have been subject to various debates. On the one hand, there are claims that the definition of the term is difficult because it is an oxymoron and therefore unattainable in real terms (Osorio, Lobato, & Castillo, 2005 p.503). These authors also document the work of Naredo (1997), who argues that ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ are an antithesis and therefore cannot be measured as an integrated whole; and also Escobar (1995) who argues that sustainable development is at best the reconciliation of two enemies with urgent need for the development of instruments that would allow for an integrated world view of the subject. There are also opinions that because of its environmental origin, most programs directed at its implementation have prioritized environmental issues over social economic matters (Bond et all, 1998). Currently, however, there is an admission that there have been changes in the perception, scope, and definition of sustainable development from mainly environmental concerns of the future to cover more holistic, integrated human development (Dooris, 1999). Hence while it might not be useful to embark on seeking an agreed definition of the term owing to different interpretations, it is considered appropriate to highlight a few conceptualizations to ensure that this article is located within a defined conceptual framework.
The most widely known definition of sustainable development is the one advanced in the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987), which defined sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future to meet their own needs.’ This definition can be said to be narrow, without a definitive delineation of what constitutes ‘needs’ and when ‘future’ starts. It is also not quite clear in measurable terms. Hence later definitions try to delineate these terms in clearer, more measurable ways. Girardet (1999, p.418) defines the term as one that works ‘…so that all its citizens are able to meet their own needs without endangering the well-being of the natural world or the living conditions of other people.’ Closely related to this is the (International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) definition at the 2nd World Conservation Strategy, which maintains that sustainable development ‘increases people's quality of life, within the carrying capacity of the earth's life support systems.’ These definitions acknowledges that the quest for development is to ensure higher economic returns for people within the limits of intergenerational responsibility, while ensuring that advancements are not made to the detriment of natural resources on which the quest for higher quality of life is predicated. The needs identified in the Brundtland definition can therefore be discerned to be basically higher quality of life. On this graduation, Lagarde (2006) offers the definition of sustainable development as the ‘harmonious integration of a sound and viable economy, responsible governance, social cohesion and harmony, and ecological integrity to ensure that development is a life-enhancing process.’ Lagarde's definition appreciates the various nuances of the ‘needs’ highlighted in the Brundtland report, and can be said to bring forth the indicators of a higher quality of life identified above. All through these definitions and conceptualizations is the desire to ensure that while satisfying our needs and indeed desires today, we are able to contain these within the limits of the natural environment and its carrying capacity. The call for sustainable development therefore arises from the desire to ensure that economic development is intrinsically balanced by environmental protection and social justice. This way, economic development is continuously adjusted to provide for inter-generational maximization of welfare (see also Hales 2000 and 2008 for further analysis) according to each given sector and geographic area. We are particularly drawn to this conceptualization because developing countries are known to place economic development as a higher priority in their own drive toward attaining sustainable development. Various studies such as Maconacie & Binns (2006), which examined sustainable development in peri-Kano (Nigeria); Oyalowo (2009) who examined the place of sustainable development in urban planning in Nigeria, Roberts and Diederichs (2002) who examined the transferability of sustainable development practices in South Africa; Vordzorgbe (2006) who examined the adoption of a National Sustainable Development Strategy in Ghana; and Drakakis-Smith (1995, p. 667) who assert that third-world governments have continued to see contemporary environmental concerns of sustainable development as secondary to other concerns such as economic growth and politics. The reasons for this attitude toward more elaborate demands of sustainable development are not far-fetched. With basic infrastructures and services in acute short supply, stunted economic growth and burgeoning demography, the need for the provisioned basic infrastructures and improved services has become a primary concern for both city and national governments. This is why even though we cannot ignore the three tripods of sustainable development, (economic development, environmental protection, and social justice); we acknowledge economic development as the platform that is most critical for projecting sustainable development outcomes for developing countries.
Project Management: Linking the Profession and its Education
The essence of project management is to create change (Reiss, 1995, p. 14); many scholars and writers have defined it from different perspectives. According to Rosenau (1998, p. 4), project management, in large part, is ‘the management of interpersonal conflict, which is inherent in complex organisational situations.’ Successful project management means meeting the performance specification (that is, objective or technical goals), on schedule, and within the budget (Rosenau, 1998, p. 11). In the business and industrial fields, project management involves managing and directing time, material, personnel, and costs to complete a particular project in an orderly, economical manner, and to meet established objectives in time, dollars, and technical results (Spinner, 1992, p. 2).
Peltoniemi & Haapasalo (2003) studied project management education in some international universities. They identified a gap in the educational offering; the availability of project execution training is limited. However, the experience of the project manager is one of the critical success factors of project management.
However, Hodgson (2005, p. 65) draws a distinction between the traditional view of the profession as a purely productive organization of experts possessing skills and knowledge vital to society, and the critical view of the profession as the mobilization of monopoly power to secure power and influence for a privileged minority. Professionalism lays claims to competence and the establishment of a code of behavior of people to be addressed as professionals within a specific application area. In the literature reviewed, a debate on the legitimacy of the claim of project management to being a profession is uncovered in the work of Hodgson (2005). Hodgson applies the critical view of professionalism to the discipline of project management, and therefore views the discipline as a ‘pseudo-profession’ mainly because it is an ‘insecure, emergent professionalizing’ occupation, while also admitting that it has spread across diverse fields of human endeavor such as technology, health, social services, and education far from its origins in engineering. In legitimizing the profession, traditional tools such as development into a defined job category, development of specific traits related to the persona of a project manager, promotion of accredited training programs and development of credentials as a precondition to accessing job opportunities have been adopted. Critics such as Hodgson (2006) believe that despite this, uneven progress has been made and project management remains an emergent profession. In this work, project management is portrayed as a set of practices without the legitimate right to professionalism, but which relies on the use of subjugation to enforce its doctrine on people who are in the practice of implementing projects. Hodgson's conclusion is based on the action research carried out during a two-year period in two companies in the United Kingdom (UK) financial services sector, one bank and one life assurance institution, with interviews carried out within these organization and observations of project teams working in the fields of information technology (IT) and new technology.
Hodgson's work presents an opportunity to establish the linkage between education and professionalism and while the conclusions arising from this piece of research will be re-examined, attention must be drawn to the work of Brown, Adams & Amjad (2007). Brown et al focus on the relationship between human capital and time performance in project management. They developed four typologies of project management human capacity profiles, each with clearly defined career paths, based on the level of educational attainment and experience gathered by the practitioner.
This typology is summarized below:
- A type ‘A’ persona with tacit knowledge arising from experience, general educational background, no formal project management (PM) qualifications.
- Type ‘B’ persona with ample tacit knowledge, general educational background, little industry-specific knowledge, and no project management qualifications.
- A type ‘C’ persona also possesses industry-specific knowledge, experience and qualification but no formal PM qualifications.
- A type ‘D’ persona with tacit knowledge and experience, general educational qualification and formal PM qualifications.
The research, which was based on a study of construction industries in UK and Saudi Arabia, suggests that experience without specific PM education and PM experience will reduce the initial potential for successful performance and conversely that individuals educated and trained specifically in the subject of PM will deliver better performance.
The link between education and professionalism is therefore clear. Professionalism demands deference to the ‘strictures and structures’ of a discipline, which according to (Hodgson, 2005) is developed from the creation of a mindset, mastering of the set of skills, acceptance of these skills, reproducing them, and embodying rituals of action. Education encompasses all the cumulative processes of mastering (months of training, induction into the professional, daily performance).
If anything, Hodgson has established a certain difficulty in the transformation of project staff into project management professionals-that is the transformation of practitioners who have not acquired project management education into project management professionals, thereby supporting Brown et al's findings related above. It found that the attempt to carry out this transformation in two UK organizations was not uniformly achieved, and there was a clear case of parody and subversion in the attitudes and actions of the staff. In the author's words: “The typical attitude among staff in the face of powerful inducements to adopt a ‘professional’ identity was a complex mixture of attraction, fear, and a profound ambivalence towards this role, played out through the assumption and tentative transformation of professional identity over time.” (Hodgson, 2005, p. 61)
The panacea to this is to increase project management professional capacity through the establishment of Project Management as a structured discipline of learning, so that there exists a pool of potential staff already schooled in the professional ethics, knowledge, and behavior.
Therefore, here lies the link between education and professionalism, and here also lies the major shortcoming of Hodgson's work, which has relied on the use of respondents, who are working as project teams but did not begin their careers as project managers with both qualifications and experience in project management. Thus, following the four career paths presented by Brousseau, Driver, Eneroth & Laarson (1996) (in Brown et al 2007, p. 79), the ideal path toward establishing oneself as a project management professional, is through the expert route. The expert route allows one to adopt an initial discipline choice (usually as a first degree), after which added knowledge in that same discipline is expected as well as accumulation of experience, which will expectedly refine and refocus the individual, to become an ‘expert.’ Project management as a discipline is built upon an abstract and objective body of rules, with specific ontology and rules of practice specific to its practitioners.
Project Delivery Mechanisms in Developing Countries
Project Delivery Mechanisms
Project Management is a highly structured process involving the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and completion of a project. In principle, project management allows the organization and integration of resources to achieve a specific goal within a designated time frame. The essence of the practice of project management is to ensure that an organization is able to make high quality decisions at a lower cost and within a shorter duration. Hence, project management ensures that all the key issues-such as cost estimation, resources management, procurement of resources and supplies, establishment of quality standards, human resources deployment, sustainment and management, stakeholder management, risk assessment, time management, and communications management that could affect the delivery of a project are carefully and continuously considered and integrated into project implementation. Successful project management delivers the agreed outcome within an agreed upon quality, without overrunning its budget and delivery duration and crucially, achieving for the organization the benefit for which the investment in the project was made. In the quest for achieving sustainable development, countries worldwide have adopted a project delivery approach wherein government agencies can act as enablers to private sector driven investment projects. The objective of PPPs is to deliver outcomes that are acceptable to all stakeholders. The Project Management Profession is particularly suited to constitute the principal human capital needed in this drive. The educational path of the future project manager must therefore be prioritized to ensure that legitimacy and expertise are assured.
Gavin & Bosso (2008, p. 163) define PPPs as a long-term contractual arrangement between the public and private sectors where mutual benefits are sought and where ultimately the private sector provides management and operating services and/or puts private finance at risk. PPPs have become globally acceptable as a means of defraying cost of development from the government to the private-sector investor willing to take the risk for a long-term return. It is recorded that in the late 1990s, a survey of a dozen national governments across the globe revealed that a significant proportion of the respondents believed that by 2010, PPPs would be the dominant project delivery mechanism (Gavin & Bosso, 2008, p. 162).
The long-term, high complexity and strategic nature of PPPs, as well as the multiplicity of stakeholders and goals provide a good opportunity for project management to perform a developmental role, by working to deliver the tenets of sustainable development. Given the nature of PPPs to impact on inter- and intra-generational needs, there is little doubt that careful selection of team members is necessary, in order to achieve the desired multiple objectives, while optimizing the input resources and output infrastructure (Kumaraswamy & Anvuur, 2008).
The Study and Findings
First, through documentary analysis, we show the clear potential of project management as a catalyst for promoting development through the successful delivery of projects with potential sustainable development outcomes.
The table below shows examples of live projects being delivered through PPPs in two states -Lagos and Ogun in Nigeria. This information is obtained from random selection of Economic Bulletins made generally available to the public as a means of gaining support for Government activities. The table shows that there is a readiness on both the Government's side and the private-sector partner side to enter into Joint Venture Partnerships for the delivery of these capital projects, most of which can be seen to have high strategic value and potentially conflicting stakeholder expectations. It is not expected that the drive for more partnerships will reduce in the foreseeable future, rather as events unfold, it appears that there is widespread acceptance of the fact that in the years to come, there will be a transition to a world where government will become overseers of services, and the private sector becomes the major provider of infrastructural services (Gavin & Bosso, 2008). In this same setting, the market exists for a crop of professionals who by education and experience are ready and willing to take the challenges of successfully delivering these projects.
Table 1: Example of PPPs in two states in Nigeria
|OAU/NUC/UNESCO Partnership Workshop||Workshop on strengthening the capacities of Universities in Science and Technology Policy and Innovation Mgt||Training and Capacity Building|
|Ogun/Ondo State Government, Chevron, Shell, and British Gas||Development of Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas (OKLNG)||Oil and Gas Development|
|AFC, Ogun-Ondo State Government||Seaport Development||Seaport Development|
|Consortium Company and Ogun State Government||Agro Cargo Airport Development||Airport Construction and Management|
|Lagos State Government and Consortium of Banks||Concession of Lekki- Ajah Expressway||Road /Highway Construction|
|Lagos State Government and Consortium of Banks||Concession of Ojo - Badagry Expressway||Road /Highway Construction|
|Guangdong Company and Ogun State Government||Igbesa- Ogun State Free Trade Zone development||Free Trade Zone Development|
|Ipem, Ogun-Ondo State Government||Olokola Free Trade Zone||Infrastructure Development and Zone Managing|
|Ministry of Transport, Nigeria, and Chinese Construction Company (CCC)||Lagos - Kano Railway Development||Transportation Development|
The Current State of Project Management Education in Nigeria
Nigeria is organized into 36 states and a federal capital territory (FCT) (Abuja). Until recently, Federal and State Governments were the only providers of tertiary education. With the calls for deliberalization of the educational sector, there has been intense competition by private individuals, corporate bodies, and religious bodies to establish private universities. A National University Commission (NUC) was established to provide licenses and accreditation of both universities and courses to ensure uniform standards. Today, spread across all its 36 states, Nigeria has about 104 universities, with 41 private universities, 36 state universities, and 27 Federal Universities. To establish the attractiveness of project management in these universities, we utilize an analysis of documentary evidence. We sought to establish whether there is a possibility of pursuing an expert career path in project management in Nigeria. We ascertained the number of tertiary institutions offering project management at the undergraduate level. To do this, The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) admission brochure was consulted. The JAMB is saddled with the responsibility of setting out guidelines for admissions to first-degree courses in universities and other degree-awarding institutions in Nigeria. This is achieved through an annual Universities Matriculation Examination (U.M.E) conducted to place students into universities in Nigeria. The most current version of the U.M.E brochure was obtained for this analysis. Like all earlier editions, this version, 17th Edition, 2009/2010 U.M.E/DE brochure is structured to provide information about the available courses, departments, and colleges in every Nigerian University. Information about entry requirements and special waivers are also contained here. It revealed at page 297 that Project Management Technology is being offered by two Federal Universities in Nigeria. The Universities are: Bells University of Technology, Ota (BUT), Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) in Imo State and Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Ondo State. These two universities are located in the eastern and western part of Nigeria respectively. It is located under Engineering/Environmental/Technology. The table below shows the courses/universities/course code, requirements for direct entry and fresh entry into these two universities as well as the U.M.E. subjects and special consideration and waiver remarks.
Table 2: Universities offering project management at the undergraduate level in Nigeria
|Courses/Universities/Course code||Requirements Direct Entry UME||UME SUBJECTS||Special Consideration (WAIVER) REMARKS|
Project Management Technology:
i) Two ‘A’ level passes in Physics/Maths/Econs/Geography
ii) OND/HND in Estate Management, Quantity Surveying, Building Tech and Engineering (Upper/Lower Credit)
Five O'Level credit passes to include English Language Maths, Physics plus a pass in Chemistry and either Economics or Biology.
|Mathematics, Physics and one of Chemistry Economics and Biology|| |
(i) FUTO requires credit passes in Mathematics and one of the Chemistry/Physics/Economics/Biology/Geography. Also OND/HND in Estate Management, Quantity Surveying, Building Tech and Engineering (Upper Credit)
A recent entrant into the field of project management undergraduate education is Bells University of Technology, which was not listed in the schedule above.
With the clear opportunities and market for project management professionals, it is immediately clear from the information derived from this analysis that project management as a professional career path remains largely unpatronized in Nigeria. However, while an expert career path may not be currently achievable, it is also easy to see that the Nigerian market favors the spiral pattern of career path featured by Brousseau et al (1997) as one followed where an individual makes major transitions between disciplines, normally from an initial discipline to subsequent allied disciplines. Because entry requirements accommodate holders of ordinary national diplomas (OND) and Higher National Diplomas (HND), in professions such as Estate Management, Quantity Surveying, Building Technology, and Engineering the obvious offering of incentives to crossover also reinforces this view.
Having established the limited interest in providing project management education as a linear and expert career path, we turn to another critical issue: the educational background of practicing project. We ascertain thorough a Web-based survey of up-market recruiting firms, the qualifications matched to the job position of ‘project manager.’ The content of job advertisements for 10 recruiting firms were obtained during a course of three months.
Table 3: Entry qualification for the post of project manager in Nigeria
|Name of Agencies||Date of Publication||Job Title||Qualification Required|
|Briscoe Properties Ltd||14th August, 2009||Project Manager||Degree in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering; Masters in Project Management|
|Orion Engineering Services Ltd||26th October, 2009||Project Manager||N/A|
|Pressure Vessels, Nigeria||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||B Sc Engineering, PMP|
|Raeburn Group, Limited||25th November, 2009||Project Manager||HND/BSc Engineering Disciplines|
|Orion Group, Ltd||27th October, 2009||Project Manager||HND/BSc Engineering Disciplines|
|Swift Oil and Gas||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||B Sc Mechanical, Civil or Chemical Engineering, CAPM.|
|Swift Technical Group||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||B Sc Mechanical, Civil or Chemical Engineering, CAPM.|
|LBH Consultant, Nigeria||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||B Sc Mechanical, Civil or Chemical Engineering, CAPM.|
|Tank Terminal, Faststream Recruitment Plc, Ltd||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||B Sc Mechanical, Civil or Chemical Engineering, CAPM.|
|Quest Project Personnel||27th November, 2009||Project Manager||Engineering degree- Civil, Mechanical, Structural, Hydrodynamics, Naval Architecture|
The minimum professional qualification varies from Degrees/HNDs in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering, to degrees in Hydrodynamics and Naval Architecture, while Masters in project management, professional qualification Project Management Professional® (PMP®)and Certified Associate in Project Management® (CAPM®) is included as an added advantage, but not as a precondition to practice project management. This also evidences Brousseau et al's (1997) spiral career path hypothesis as well as Brown et al (2006) argument that to get to PM positions an individual can obtain “a formal academic qualification in a ‘traditional’ built environment discipline that is not specifically PM, notably the surveying disciplines.”
This work has examined the place of project management in nation building through the instrumentality of the notion of sustainable development. We have established that despite the potential market for project management professionals, there is a gap in the educational path that would lead to the emergence of project management as a profession to be reckoned with. We therefore present a framework with which project management education can be used as a catalyst for sustainable development, highlighting potential challenges and opportunities.
We advocate for the intervention of International Project Management Institutions to increase awareness about the profession in a bid to ‘market’ it to universities. With an expansion of universities offering project management at the undergraduate level, there will naturally be a gradation to the establishment of post-graduate studies in project management in Nigerian Universities. However, to ensure that tacit knowledge (experience) is integrated to the learning process (which, if located in a college of engineering or built environment would be five years), attention must paid to the mode of learning. We advocate for a direct linkage between project-based organizations and these tertiary institutions, that will accommodate students’ participation in some form in project delivery during a reasonable period of time. We advocate for a work-based learning approach that would see undergraduate students attached to high-powered projects to gather hands-on expertise before graduation. Exchange programs with peers outside the country would also provide an avenue for garnering exposure, testing leadership skills, and team working, all integral to the persona of a project manager. A graduate of project management would therefore come ready with a suite of skills, knowledge, and experience, which would be industry specific, and this would make him or her more attractive in the job market. Undergraduate study will also serve as the critical entry point for future expert education. Further studies will include certifications and post-graduate studies. At this level, we strongly urge for the inclusion of a special category of certification for graduate project managers to provide a psychological linkage with the profession.
A clear path toward expertise will ensure that developmental projects are populated at every stage, with professional project managers who are trained to deliver the expectations of all stakeholders.
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