PM ChangeAgent Commentary
On July 4, 2011 we celebrate IPMA-USA’s ten-year anniversary. We reflect on our intentions, progress, and achievements in our first ten years—and then, look ahead at the next ten years. This article focuses on our intentions; but we cannot help but mention our progress. Not only have we helped to advance the practice of project and program management (an ongoing goal), we have inspired others to follow our lead: They are now also promoting (their own interpretation of) most of our Five Foundations, and many of our innovations.
We founded IPMA-USA after having been among the key drivers of success of other professional organizations, including Project Management Institute (Institute in the rest of this article). Many of us remained members of that great organization, and still do to this day. But we felt it was time for change. And what are project managers, if not change agents?
The Need For Change
Factors in 2000-2001 contributing to the need for change were many, and a handful of them became our rallying points; they were also ingredients for our business case analysis in deciding whether to found a new organization, or to continue working to improve existing ones.
- PM advancements, innovations and their sharing had significantly slowed;
- Intellectual Property Ownership issues discouraged involvement of the most-talented practitioners;
- Training and learning funds appeared to be shifting from project and program performance improvement to test memorization;
- Association governance moved from member-driven to organization-CEO controlled;
- Emphasis shifted from all pm sectors to favor Information Technology;
- Levels of engagement shifted from advanced interaction of long-time practitioners to mass-training of simple subjects to newcomers.
IPMA-USA was founded by a group of long-time pm practitioners with a variety of backgrounds: Practicing project managers; Managers of project managers; pm consultants and trainers; educators and authors. Founders of chapters and officers of other organizations, the average pm industry experience of the founding group in 2001 was around 20 years, with some going back 35 years and more.
Most had earned the PM Institute’s certification (Lew Ireland wrote its first exam). And we realized that there was a lot more needed than an exam to accelerate needed organizational benefits from our discipline. Many of us worked internationally, so we had a grasp of the status of pm practice in many other nations of the World. Thus, a dedicated group set out to advance the practice of project and program management in America.