ipma-usa logoThe IPMA-USA April-May, 2012 Newsletter


This opt-in Newsletter is from IPMA-USA, the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management. We are the USA member association of the International Project Management Association.

We dedicate this issue to the memory of Dr. Lew Ireland

LewDr. Lew Ireland: Parent, friend, mentor, IPMA-USA co-founder, an inspiration to all who encountered him, and a gift to the practice of integrity in project management, passed away Wednesday, May 2, 2012. We grieve his passing, while celebrating his massive contributions to ourselves, members and friends, our practice, and to society.

Lew was a prolific contributor to the practice of project management. We have a library of his articles and PrezSays postings here at the IPMA-USA website. We celebrate Lew's life, and his contributions to our practice by sharing a few of his articles here.

Many of Lew's friends and associates shared a special recollection of Lew, that we share with you at the IPMA-USA website. Thank you!

A selection of Lew's IPMA-USA Articles
1. Project Management Practices: Changing the World
2. Project Manager Role Models
3. The Value of Project Manager Certification
4. Enterprise Project Management: A Strategic View
5. Executive Management's Role In Project Management
6. Training for Life Skills
7. Leadership and Leading
8. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Project Manager's Dilemma
9. My First Project

1. Project Management Practices: Changing the World
Project management, in some form, has been around for centuries. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that the practice was codified in literature and a definite focus made on how to make a good thing better. Documenting these concepts and practices has permitted wider distribution and improvement when the former concepts and practices were not maintaining pace with a rapidly growing technological world.

Project management may be viewed through the artifacts that resulted from tremendously difficult tasks. The Pyramids of Giza near Cairo, Egypt, were projects that built a necropolis for the pharaohs dating back more than 5000 years. Archeologists report in the November 1998 issue of National Geographic Magazine there is evidence of a highly sophisticated organization that designed and built these structures. This organization consisted of managers, engineers, workers, and support elements focused on a single goal of constructing a place for their pharaoh in the after life. Surely, some of the early forms of project management were used here.

China, noted for its Great Wall and the lesser-known Grand Canal, provides artifacts that could have only been constructed by using project management techniques. Started during the Zhou Dynasty in the 7th century BC, the original Great Wall was approximately 5,000 kilometers in length, with the purpose of keeping foreign invaders out of China. In 221 BC, the Qin Dynasty started a project to extend the Great Wall another 1,000 kilometers. As late as 1368, a 200-year project for restoration of the Great Wall was started. Today, this magnificent achievement stands as a symbol of national treasure. Rather than meeting its original purpose to keep foreigners out of China, it attracts thousands of tourists each year ... More

======================================

2. Project Manager Role Models
Project Manager as Leaders: Project management in some form has existed for centuries as evidenced by the number of artifacts around the world. The Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Trans-Siberia Railroad, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to mention some better-known projects that have constructed well-known products.

There are thousands of lesser-known products that have been constructed over 5000 years such as the Cathedrals of Europe and the Grand Canal of China. Each had one or more “project managers” to lead the effort.

In view of the number of projects, some of their products recognized by grade school children, there has been few project managers identified as role models. In modern times, the Manhattan Project – the work to build the first atomic bomb between 1942 and 1945 – was lead by Brigadier General Leslie Grove, an Army Officer. But was he a role model or more of an authoritarian figure? His personal behavior is not well documented in current literature ... More

======================================

3. The Value of Project Manager Certification
Our goal with this paper is to assert the value of project management certification by considering who benefits from it, who provides it, and the standard upon which it is based.

Anyone giving even slight attention to project management knows that certification is a “big thing”. Between 1996 and 2000, as PM certification became popular (and companies had money to spend), few people seemed to question its cost, ROI, or the basis for evaluating competence.

Today, companies are rightfully challenging these and other value factors, as are individuals, professional societies, and others who might benefit from properly certified project managers.

As the two quotes above suggest, the value of project management certification depends on the perception of its worth from different perspectives: those who are buying the skills of a competent (certified) person, and those who are paying for the “I’m certified!” credential ... More

======================================

4. Enterprise Project Management: A Strategic View
Introduction: Enterprise project management (EPM) has been viewed from different viewpoints and described as unique parts of organizational behavior. One approach is that EPM is a software tool that helps plan and implement all projects within an organization. Another view is that projects are selected, planned, controlled and implemented from a central location that rigorously assures all projects report progress to a single element. Neither of these approaches is wrong for the organization. The bigger picture, however, helps understand the full potential of an EPM.

Enterprise project management, as implied by the words, is an enterprise view of all project management activities and how these activities contribute to the success of the organization. It entails linking the organization's vision, mission, goals and objectives, and strategies in a hierarchal fashion to ensure the organization commits its resources to the right projects at the right time. This definition includes those efforts in software tool use and the central control over projects, but in a holistic view.

Enterprise project management implementation is a strategic decision by the organization to change the way decisions are made, resources allocated to projects, projects are selected, and projects are closed out. EPM is commitment of the organization to doing work through projects, where appropriate, and obtaining more benefits from projects ... More

======================================

5. Executive Management's Role In Project Management
Role Ambiguity: The role of Executive Management in the field of project management has been cussed and discussed over the years and is again receiving attention in the project management community. It appears that few have found an agreeable description of the Executive Management's project role and in some fashion successfully
conveyed that role description to their Executive Managers.

Frank Saladis, a Principal of Project Imaginers in New York City, recently highlighted some of the challenges faced by project managers because of the unclear project role of the Executive Manager.

Frank touches on an age-old problem -- some in Executive Management do not understand what project management is about and why some project activities are necessary to ensure meeting the objectives of the project. Project management literature does not adequately address the role of Executive Management in either a general way or give specifics. It is believed that Executive Managers who are better informed could make a significant difference in the organization's use of projects as the best possible approach to
accomplishing the work ... More

======================================

6. Training for Life Skills
Education and training are often interchanged as synonymous words that mean the same. It is often confusing to mix up the two. Education is typically that knowledge acquired through a formal school environment to give a person an understanding of a subject or subjects. Education does not provide the hands-on skills to accomplish tasks.

Training, on the other hand, is a mixture of knowledge and skills. Vendors provide training in different subjects for the purpose of changing behavior – which may be adding to the skill sets or replacing existing skill sets for a specific purpose. Training is typically limited in scope and close ended. Effective training, therefore, should provide individuals or teams new knowledge and skills to enhance their capabilities.

JC Consultancy (Proportion Training) has been working with IPMA-USA to prepare individuals for the Level D – Certified Project Practitioner examination. The primary audience has been architects and engineers – those individuals who often work on projects, but are educated in the physical sciences of their respective professions. These individuals are required to work on projects and contribute to the success of project without the benefit of formal training in project management. The training provided by JC Consultancy gives these individuals the knowledge and skills to better perform in projects, whether as a project manager or a member of the project team ... More

======================================

7.Leadership and Leading
Leaders are self-made, not born. Leadership comes in many different styles and is measured on success in creating something of value to society. Leaders are not of a particular race, color, or creed, but surface from all segments of society.

On this year's birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the father of the modern day civil rights movement that changed the face of America and gave hope to millions, it is appropriate to recognize Dr. King as a leader. Under his leadership, the Constitutional rights were restored to many people. His memory gives hope and moral support to many who were born after his tragic death 38 years ago. His legacy continues his work from the 1960s.

General Daniel “Chappie” James, a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force, showed leadership in the military to rise from second lieutenant to the boss of the North American Air Defense Command. He demonstrated leadership in other areas as well by speaking to groups of young blacks to give them an insight on racial prejudice. In one speech, he told the young men that it was okay to destroy structures – but first they had no right to do destroy until they built something. I’m certain that his words “to build something first” influenced many of these students to be a part of creating value for society ...

======================================

8. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Project Manager's Dilemma

Project Managers are frequently called upon by their project staff to make decisions regarding project work. Some requires sorting through several options to determine the optimum path to follow – and the paths not to follow. The decision process for large issues typically will be more formal than for routine issues that have considerably less impact on the project if the wrong decision is made. Consistently making the best decision requires some formal process, whether it is documented or just a mental process.

Another project area that requires decisions is problem solving, that is to select the best choice of action (or inaction) regarding a perceived challenge. Decisions in this arena are typically based on the information provided by the person tasked with doing the work. Such information may be partial, unrelated to the true problem, more than required, or biased to present an individual viewpoint. One needs the right information in the right quantity, in a timely manner,to make the best decision for the project.

General Colin Powell, US Army Retired, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, writes in My American Journey that time is perhaps the most important consideration to continue the work and often decisions must be made without all the information. Typically, he avers that about 80 percent of the information is all that one will get before it is decision time. Infrequently, one has about 40 percent of the information and it is time to decide. Seldom does one have 100 percent of the information needed to support decision making. This results in some guess work when there is insufficient information but a decision is required to continue the work ... More

======================================

9. My First Project
Projects have come into vogue over the past thirty or more years through the efforts of individuals, organizations, and professional associations. However, projects were recognized in the 17th Century by Daniel Defoe, An Essay Upon Projects, 1697, The Scholar Press Limited, Menston, England, 1969. More than 300 years of projects and only in the past thirty years has there been a lot of progress. Just when I thought my project in the early 1950s was a “first,” I learn that there were more than 250 years of projects.

While one would not argue that they invented projects, a person could take credit for advancing the theory, concepts, practices, and techniques. There have been some wonderful tools developed to help plan, execute, and closeout projects. I see the advancement in “project management” as being significant since my first project.

The Germ of an Idea is Born: As a young lad in the early 1950s, I was challenged by a neighborhood friend to a cart race down Baker’s Hill. Baker’s Hill was an open field that had an incline of about 45 degrees for approximately 150 yards and the hillside was littered with stones ranging in size from small apple to large watermelon. There was no straight path through all the stones; one could only hope that some maneuvering around the stones was possible without overturning or diminishing the forward velocity to an extent that the race was lost. More

======================================

These articles are among our favorites from our collection that Lew wrote for IPMA-USA. They include his popular PrezSez commentaries, that we established during his terms as IPMA-USA President. Of course, he presented many other papers around the World, and his books, co-authored with Dr. David Cleland, are among the best in the World of Project Management.

__________________________

IPMA-USA is the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management. We are a not-for-profit organization, volunteers who are dedicated to improving Performance Competence in Project and Program Management. See our past newsletters at our website.

Click here to subscribe to this newsletter, or even better, to Join IPMA-USA, see the link at the top right of each page on the ipma-usa.org website.

All marks are the property of their registered owners in the USA and other countries.