An editorial for Project Mangement World Today Web Magazine. Published here March 2000.


Musings Index

Project Management Globalization - Two Points of View?

For members of the Project Management Institute, the Quarterly Supplement to the January [2000] issue of the PMI Today broadsheet carries upbeat articles by several PMI members. These articles describe their planning for 'Globalization'. Although the lead banner asks "What is globalization?", we did not find a ready answer. Nevertheless, PMI’s Global Project Management Action Team (GPAT) contemplates two new "PMI components". The first is a "Globally Focused Community (GFC) [which] would be a PMI component organized globally around a specific interest or topic." The second is a "Geo-Political Community (GPC) [which] would be any PMI component organized on a geographical basis, the chapter being an example."

The article goes on to explain that "A mature GPC could be characterized by a specific focus on meeting and addressing the PMI Board's Ends Policies, … defined interfaces with GFCs to provide localized focus for global interest groups; working with PMI Headqquarters to develop programs that meet the needs of members within the GPC and the greater whole; …". The Supplement also states "That the PMI Board is supportive of the general concepts of a global organizational model as outlined by the GPAT." And "PMI is leading the way to ensure that project management methodologies and principles are adopted at all levels of business and governments around the world."

On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Professor Rodney Turner of Erasmus University Rotterdam recently provided a Global Project Management Forum (GPMF) insight into the aims, objectives and activities of the International Project Management Association. The IPMA was described as a Global Federation of some 30 National Project Management Associations mainly in Europe but having associated National project management organizations in the Middle East, India and China. New Regions are proposed for East Asia and the Pacific. IPMA sponsors Regional Networks with a new Network proposed for Central Europe which will be similar in collegial association to that of the current NORDNET of the Scandinavian countries.

Of particular interest to global project management practitioners is the IPMA four tier Project Management Career Development currently being applied in the national project management associated organizations. This certification schema begins with a 'New Start' (i.e. someone new to project management) then moves through validated certification levels of 'Team Member', 'Leader', 'Junior PM', 'Project Manager', 'Senior PM' to the certification of a 'Project Director' responsible for the management of a program of projects or projects in several countries.

Dr. Turner went on to say that "... the globalization strategy of the IPMA is to encourage the development of National PM organizations so that national associations in different economic areas of the world can

  • provide mutual support to each other
  • aid in the development of new national associations in that area, and
  • help each other in implementing PM certification and standards."

It seems to us that the first vision starts from the premise of being all-encompassing under the banner of PMI, while the second vision offers an outreach view. The debate on whether "Do it our way" or "Help them do it their way" is best and who will win will be a long one. Of one thing we are certain, either way, only freedom of intellectual thought and expression - the hallmarks of democracy - will benefit professional advancement and enable technical progress to be made. It is up to the reader to decide.

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