Project Management Institute

Above and beyond

ASIA PACIFIC WATCH VIEWPOINTS

Corporations and project managers in the Asia Pacific region must work together to move learning beyond certification. BY RAMESH D. KANDADAI

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Much of a project manager's success can be attributed to a personal commitment to excellence. Yet without a corporation's support to foster a practitioner's development, professional growth often proves impossible. In the Asia Pacific region, attitudes toward project management certification remain superficial, and a disconnect often exists between a project manager's personal motivations and a corporation's philosophy.

A high-stress environment brought on by the region's service industry culture has contributed to a slowdown in professional growth and dampened individual motivation for continued learning. The pressure to quickly deliver and an emphasis on financial advancement leave little room for intellectual and professional pursuits.

I also have noticed that learning stops after certification. Many novice project managers in the region view certification as a way of “getting in the door” and then don't bother to continue developing their skills. Employers perpetuate this trend by selecting curricula vitae with Project Management Professional (PMP®) certifications in lieu of uncertified project managers with more experience. Certification is an important achievement, but it's not a substitute for experience and should not be seen as merely an admission ticket to the job market.

Corporations in the Asia Pacific region need to encourage continuous learning by creating a project management culture. To do so, they must:

Provide incentives. Companies can motivate employees to aim for loftier professional goals by sponsoring candidates for project management certification. In many parts of the Asia Pacific region, certification fees are quite high compared to the standard cost of living. Some companies in the area are also beginning to introduce reward schemes to recognize successful practitioners.

Implement and share best practices. Sending employees to conferences or encouraging them to submit papers can jump-start the exchange of ideas and experiences. Sponsoring attendance to conferences must be viewed as an investment, not an optional expenditure.

As work culture evolves and the reliability of products improves, so will the individuals who deliver those products. But only with the help of corporations can individuals go above and beyond mere certification.

The aim of any organization should be to motivate corporate growth through individual growth. Individual progress is a team effort, too. PM

Ramesh D. Kandadai is a consultant operating out of India with expertise in project, operations and team management. He has nearly 25 years of experience and can be reached at rameshdk@arm-c.com.

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PM NETWORK | APRIL 2007 | WWW.PMI.ORG

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