This paper was presented to a conference on "The Project Management Information Society", May 14-16, 1995, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was given at a time when the idea of a Canadian project management institute was being promoted.

Published November 2001

Introduction  | Client-Server | Leadership | Project Life Cycle
Team Building | Skills |  Knowledge | PMI•Canada | Conclusions


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" skills.

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.

PMI•Canada 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, PMI•Canada 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?

A Role for PMI Canada: Two Master Strokes  A Role for PMI•Canada: Two Master Strokes

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