Key-note address to
A Conference under the Northern Lights
by R. Max Wideman, President of the Project Management Institute, in Reykjavik, Iceland, August 31st, 1987.

Published here, June 2001.

PMI | Attributes | PMBoK | What is PM? | Market | Structure | Programs | Future

Mr. Chairman, Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. May I first say to our hosts and colleagues of NORDNET how much I appreciate your invitation to come and speak to you here in Reykjavik today. This opportunity also makes it possible for my wife and I to catch a glimpse of your beautiful country for the first time. To those of you who have come from further afield, I welcome the opportunity to discuss and exchange with you ideas on project management on a world wide basis. In particular, I am looking forward to the workshop tomorrow afternoon when we intend to discuss Business Development through Project Management.

The Project Management Institute

At this time, I should like to tell you a little bit about the Project Management Institute (or PMI as we call it), how we see project management, where we have been, where we are today and where we see ourselves going.

The PMI is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. It was launched in 1969 and since then has grown to an individual membership of about 5500. About 70% of the members come from the U.S., 20% from Canada and the remaining 10% from other countries worldwide. 70% of our members belong to the 41 chapters, who are very active on a local or regional basis. Our annual fee is $60 U.S.

Now I think that you will agree that project management is a skill that can and should be practiced in a wide variety of industries, occupations and situations. It is used to create all types of permanent facilities such as buildings, utilities, power and industrial plants, transport and communications systems and so on. It is also used in ship-building and aerospace, to conduct research and develop new products, to launch new businesses, to produce entertainment products, and to conduct political campaigns, to mention only a few examples.

In short, project management is applicable wherever there is a necessity to effectively manage resources in creating change. Clearly, there are many areas of application which involve a diversity of skills and talents in the use of project management philosophy and methods. PMI endeavors to draw on this knowledge and experience, not only for the benefit of its members, but also all those who are served by the projects that its members undertake. It should be appreciated that project management serves a very large constituency.

In its constitution, the PMI has a number of goals and objectives typical of most technical associations, but which are reflected in its mission statement, recently adopted.

"PMI's mission is:

  • To be the leading recognized professional and technical association in advancing the state of the art of program and project management.
  • To be achieved through the development and dissemination of the theory and practice of effective management of resources in reaching project goals."

Since the late 1970's, there has been increasing emphasis on a "professional" organization and a significant effort by members of the Project Management Institute to develop project management into the newest of recognized professions. This presumes that there is indeed a basis for a profession. So the Institute established a series of projects, first to identify the major attributes that are common to all professions, and then to set about creating these attributes.

Thanks to the prodigious efforts of such leaders in PMI as Matt Parry, past president, Dr John Adams, past PMI Director of Education and now chairman of the PMI Standards Board, and Dr Dean Martin, PMI Director of Certification, and many, many others on all their various committees but too numerous to mention, significant strides have been made in this direction.


Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page