Project Management as a Strategic Competency at Microsoft Project Momentum

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Philip Diab, former chairman of the Project Management Institute, addressed the audience this morning with a session on how strategic project management is in organizations. The Taylorisation of work on the assembly lines to improve repeatability and scalability often created functional solos in offices that projects have to break or at least to cross over in order to deliver complex products and services. Hence the birth of Project Management rooted in the need to execute on complex projects that assemble and dissolve teams to deliver. As more and more activities are conducted as projects, being a project manager may only be a transient stage for many professionals who are not dedicated professional PMs but get assigned a PM role as part of their engineering, construction, architecture, IT... jobs. So, we have in Project Management a mix of professional PMs and other persons who use some of the PM techniques and processes to produce their deliverables. As a matter of fact, PMI estimates that there are 20 million persons involved in project management across the world. Of course, PMs required in developing countries may be of a different kind as they do not have strong systems and processes to rely upon. Instead, they may have to build them in the first place.

Philip mentioned a few examples of successful project management deployment. Huawei is such an example with revenues that have increased 10 fold in less than 10 years. At Huawei, all PMs need to be Project Management Professional (PMP) certified. And moreover, all managers follow project management training to some extent. At Microsoft, a four level PM career path has been developed to retain talent in this critical profession. It reduced PMP turnover, increased employee satisfaction, and significantly contributed to raising customers and partners' satisfaction. IBM had put a similar internal certification process in place years ago.

Philip could not miss to restate some of the key benefits that PMI bring to its 327,000 members. As many as 12 standards in the project management domain are produced by PMI from the famous Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) to practice standards for scheduling, risk management, building work breakdown structure and Programme and Portfolio management. 5 certifications are provided to cover 3 levels in PM from junior entry PM to Programme Manager and with specializations in the scheduling and risk domains. And, the opportunity for its members to network and share experiences on line and face to face at local and global seminars.

"PM is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions" concluded Philip before adding: "Don't be afraid of failure. Sometimes the rewards from failure can be greater that those of success!"

Michel Operto

I've been leading IT projects for more than 20 years at telecom and computer manufacturers: Thomson Sintra, Digital Equipment, NCR, Nortel Networks, Orange Business Services. My passion is Project Management and leadership and I run a blog on the PM best practices at http://dantotsupm.com/