Our Education Director Reports

Introducing Dr. Thomas Baumann, IPMA-USA Education Director, Contact Thomas

Thomas BaumannIt will come as no surprise that a recent study on the future of the Information Technology (IT) workplace recognizes the importance of project management skills (Footnote 1.)

104 senior IT managers in 74 companies of varying size indicate that they will seek individuals who have technical skills, knowledge of the business domain in which they operate, and project management skills.

For entry level positions, the organizations indicate that they will primarily seek the technical and business skills, but are quite expressive in indicating that the project management skills are more crucial for the long term career of an individual, especially given that technical and management skills are easily outsourced while project management is not.

This has immediate implications for education, both at the university level and in continuing professional education. Universities must provide a student with sufficient technical and business domain knowledge to locate a job, but also to provide enough project management knowledge to serve effectively on project teams.

The IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (ICB4) developed by IPMA's global member associations, provides an excellent source for directing curricula development at the university level. One objective for the Director of Education is to develop curricular standards that would serve as a guideline for universities and prepare students for IPMA Level D certification.

Opportunities for continuing professional education must also be expanded to meet this need, regardless of the source. Universities will likely expand their professional offerings; many large organizations will contract with external providers. Having recognizable linkages to a project management society, such as being a Competence Enabler, will prove an important credential. Likewise, as organizations mature, they are likely to develop career paths that require ever higher levels of competences as represented in the four levels of certification. Find out more about how IPMA-USA certification tracks a full career in project management (in the Certification Program Overview).

Many other aspects of education must also be emphasized to meet this need in Information Technology (and also in every other field that employs the project structure). Perhaps the most important of all is sharing what we know with others in our society. Consider pulling together a group of project professionals to discuss common concerns through our PM Communities of Practice venue. Send your bullet list of lessons learned (and shared) to any IPMA-USA Board member. We may want to include your thoughts in our next newsletter or post them in an open forum on the Education page of our website.

If you read a good book on PM … sure, post your comments to the Amazon website, but send your detailed comments for possible posting to the Reviews web page (send these to our Education Director).

Universities recognizing the importance of project management may wish to start student chapters and programs. If you feel you could help with any of the activities, please let us know. The coordinator of these activities will be in touch to determine your interests We will begin to help form a line and we will contact you to find out more about your interests and provide some advice in how to get started or in making local contacts. We are just at the beginning of this process, so all creative thoughts and ideas are welcome and will be acknowledged.

1. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Volume 17, 2006, pp. 1147 – 1170