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Tribute to a Giant in the Field -- Report from the PMI Research Conference

The PMI Research and Education Conference that wrapped up yesterday in Washington, D.C. is getting rave reviews from everyone involved -- including trainers, university educators, students and practitioners -- groups that are represented in record-high numbers. Altogether, more than 550 people have attended over the course of four days.

Tuesday night was one of the highlights of the conference. As part of the 2010 research awards ceremony, PMI paid tribute to a project management icon -- David Cleland, PhD, PMP and PMI Fellow.

Many people gave audio or video tributes to Dr. Cleland, an instructor and author who has been in the field for more than 40 years. Among those who paid tribute were Gene Bounds, PMP, PMI Chair; Rebecca Winston, former chair; Dr. Cleland's frequent co-author, Bopaya Bidanda, PhD; Mike Rapach, PMP, PMI Pittsburgh Chapter President; and Larry Hager, senior editor for McGraw-Hill Companies. This was an appropriate venue for the tribute, as Dr. Cleland was a co-founder of the PMI Research Conference.

Among the comments were that Dr. Cleland was the writer of the definitive text of the profession for two generations of project managers. Dr. Bidanda said that every project manager knows Dr. Cleland because of the volume, quality and content of his books.

PMI's knowledge strategy was built on foundations created by Dr. Cleland, added Mr. Bounds. "He helped shape the project management profession as much as anyone alive today," he said.

Others honored with awards at the ceremony included Professor Janice Thomas, PhD, receiving the 2010 PMI Research Achievement Award; Terence Cooke-Davies, PhD; Lynn Crawford and Thomas Lechler, PhD, for the 2010 Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award; and Jefferson Leandro Anselmo, PhD, PMP for the PMI Student Poster Award.

Greg Balestrero, president and CEO of PMI, set the bar for this conference with his opening remarks. "It's all about the pipeline," he said. The pipeline is "your involvement from when you first think about the profession to your retirement." Training and academia is an extremely important part of feeding the pipeline, meeting the demand of organizations and government agencies, and making the profession vibrant and growing.

Attendees were excited to hear a plenary talk by one of the biggest names in management strategy research, Kathleen Eisenhardt, PhD, discussing case study research and how best to employ it.

The Monday plenary was a panel discussion on project management in government, much appreciated by the many practitioners from the local Washington area attending.

New for this year's conference was student presentations of 20 minutes in length -- time enough for doctoral candidates to get great feedback from the audience. Professional poster sessions were also new.

One practitioner who attended from the Netherlands was thrilled to be there. Daniel Amunwa, PMP, said, "it's fascinating to see that whimsical thoughts I may have had about project management have already been addressed by academics and taken to a higher level." Mr. Amunwa, a newer PMI member, said he's "proud to be a part of this organization that holds such a tremendous conference, and I wouldn't expect anything less."

See more on special recognition and awards bestowed at the conference.

Posted by Dan Goldfischer on: July 15, 2010 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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