Service on the PMI Board of Directors
PMWT: When did you serve on the PMI Board of Directors, and in what roles?
Max: I was first elected to the Project Management Institute's Board of Directors as VP member Services in 1983. At that time Dr. John Adams was researching the attributes of a professional organization and how that would require establishing a body of knowledge that distinguishes project management from general management. At the same time, Past PMI President and Chairman, (the late) Matt Parry, had just completed his Ethics, Standards and Accreditation study known as the "ESA" Report.
I remember well my attendance at the first Board meeting, immediately after the election, when these topics were discussed. With some temerity, I inquired if indeed the findings of the ESA report showed that the minimum requirements were in place to meet the minimum attributes being advocated by John. I was told that indeed that appeared to be the case. So I replied "Then what are we waiting for?"
This response evidently triggered a long train of events, from the sterling work done by Dr. Lew Ireland in developing the first database of Project Management Professional ("PMP") certification questions; to a landmark "invitation-only" workshop that I orchestrated at the 1984 PMI Seminar Symposium to expand and improve the Project Management Body of Knowledge that I tagged as "PMBOK"; to the massive project management consulting and related web services of today; - and, I might say, to PMI's present resounding financial success.
Around 1984-85, the PMI Board established a PMBOK Standards Board of which I was chairman. After much diligent work with a team of over 80 PMI members, a large team to manage in those days (especially before the days of Email!), a formal Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) document was approved by the PMI Board of Directors on March 28, 1987. It promulgated to be effective for certification and educational program reviews as of September 1, 1987.
In 1985 I received PMI's Distinguished Contribution Award for my work and Person of the Year Award in 1986. In 1987 I won the election for PMI President followed by a year as Chairman in 1988. Interestingly, 1987 was a year of decision for me: Should I opt to take up the role of chairman of the PMI Standards Committee in order to continue my influence over the shaping of the PMI PMBOK, or take my chances at fame and (hopefully) fortune by running for PMI President. I chose the latter. I will leave it to others to decide whether or not that was the right decision.