Project Management

Does Business Acumen Matter in the Public Sector?

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

As part of my successful efforts to become an elected official, I emphasized my private sector background. I communicated that I have 20 years experience in various technical and management roles with a very large national company. I also emphasized the skills I had developed after leaving the corporate world and being self-employed. The message was that I would bring a business perspective to the leadership of a municipality.

In my second term, I have moved from being Chair of Finance to Chair of Public Works. I am also part of committees focused on emergency services, transit and conservation authorities. I’ve definitely moved into a sponsor role, and have to carefully manage my approach and ensure I do not revert to behaving as I did in my many years of project delivery.

That said, after 20 (or is it 30?) years of managing projects, project management is part of my DNA and always surfaces. Given almost 90% of my career has been in the private sector, my approach is very much from a business perspective.

I was part of a selection committee to hire a new Chief Administrative Officer. Her resume and interview style made it clear she was the best choice for the role. The fact that she is a PMP, resonated as we reviewed the qualifications of the candidates. Since her arrival, the skills she developed through the combination of having owned and sold various …

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"History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot."

- Mark Twain