Oct 11, 2010

Project Management on the Potomac: Making Waves

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Human Capital, Project Management Office (PMO), Strategy Execution | 1 Comment

The PMI Global Congress is better this year than ever: venue, food, and ease-of-use have all been upgraded. But it's in the selection of speakers and array of presentations that it really shows a marked upturn.

First of all: Bill Clinton was awesome as the kickoff keynote speaker. In challenging the project management profession to take its rightful place among the professions by offering our expertise to help meet the world's needs and challenges, he hit upon a key issue for the discipline. A profession - medicine for example - is not just about doing a job well or amassing credentials. It also must have an overarching social purpose. To alleviate suffering; to educate; to improve our lot in some way. As the PM profession has grown in clout and visibility, it's time for us to lift our eyes from the computer screen and see how we can give of our time and skills. Certainly the news is full of stories about humanitarian or social change efforts that could use a little project management expertise!

We used to say the same thing about government projects, but judging from the number of speakers and presenters from the government sphere, the PM banner is being flown from many buildings here in the capital.

Among the presentations. PM Solutions folks had two sessions on offer. Kent Crawford's session this morning drew a large crowd to hear about using "The PMO as Strategy Execution Office." He needed the entire half-hour he allowed for questions, as the attendees lined up at the mike. One of them, asking a question about integrating various types of methodologies, sparked an interesting reflection: While generally I'm a fan of grassroots movements, in the case of project management it's better to take it from the top. Kent remarked that when you integrate a product development or IT methodology with PM on a departmental level, you often create a barrier to the adoption of PM methodology across the enterprise. "There's a difficulty in scaling it up," he said. "Whereas, if you start on the enterprise level with a PM methodology that's broadly applicable, later you can perform these kinds of integrations at the department level."

But - back to the grassroots - my own presentation "Lessons from the Farm" on sustainability and project management, while it did not attract the numbers that Kent's did, certainly boasted the only slides featuring chickens. Seriously, the topic of sustainable business practices is one that Clinton touched on in his keynote address, and which all project managers should be familiarizing themselves with. Drop me an email if you'd like to see the slides, and cannot access them on the PMI website.

Whether you are promoting project management discipline from the executive suite, or up from the trenches, the opportunity to network with others in the field is invaluable. As they say on the postcards: Wish you were here.

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1 Comment on Project Management on the Potomac: Making Waves

Phil Obi says:

I enjoyed your presentation on Lessons From the Farm: Project Management, Naturally.

Posted on October 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

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