A better and more far reaching understanding of project management as a step
towards "managing by projects" is required if Canada is to remain competitive.
This needs a new breed of education and the drive for this is already apparent
from a new breed of projects. These projects are not only technically advanced,
but need a primary focus on "people" skills and "communication"
Much has been written about what leaders do and what managers do, but in running
a project the real issues revolve around project "stewardship". That
is, what style of leader/manager is appropriate in the context of the different
phases of the project life cycle. Either way, the primary focus is still on "people"
and "communication" skills.
It has been said that a changing world has always been with us. The difference
is that this change is no longer incremental, but exponential. Therefore, these
essential project management skills must be more effectively transferred.
Unfortunately, our current educational system does not appear to be up to the
task. For the most part, it is highly functionalized by discipline. If we must
Manage by Projects, we must also Educate by Projects. This approach provides
students with both the knowledge and experience foundation for motivation and
capability in the business market place.
PMICanada can play a significant role in identifying the required learning
and establishing a "new platform" standard. Not by reinventing the
wheel, but by building on the work already done. Not clinging to our North American
perspective, but by taking advantage of other cultural approaches. If we could
achieve this, PMICanada would not only be serving our national constituency
but providing a truly international role.
Perhaps we should start by asserting much more vigorously that project management
is both an art as well as a science. That it involves both people and things,
rigor and flexibility, and needs project leaders/managers who can recognize when
to apply each to the best advantage of the overall process.
To achieve this it will be necessary for the next generation to have instruction
and experience in both realms, and we shall need educational establishments which
clearly and comfortably encompass both. If we could accomplish that, maybe we
should see more motivated team work and more consistently successful projects.
With more consistently successful projects surely we would become more competitive
internationally? After all, isn't that the kind of "project success"
that is the ultimate national objective?
Perhaps the outstanding issues are these. How do we achieve a paradigm shift
in the thinking of our educational establishments on the one hand, and their
acceptance of project management on the other?