Project Management

PMI Global Insights

by , , , , ,
Whether it’s in-person or virtual, PMI events give you the right skills to complete amazing projects. In this blog, whether it be our Virtual Experience Series, PMI Training (formerly Seminars World) or PMI® Global Summit, experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Julie Ho
Heather McLarnon
Laura Schofield
Michelle Brown
Kimberly Whitby

Past Contributors:

Johanna Rusly
April Birchmeier
Nikki Evans
Dalibor Ninkovic
Dr. Deepa Bhide
Chris DiBella
Nic Jain
Nicholas Sonnenberg
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
Catalin Dogaru
Priya Patra
Josh Parrott
Scott Lesnick-CSP
Antonio Nieto
Dimitrios Zaires
Ahmed Zouhair
Carmine Paragano
Te Wu
Scott Bain
Katie Mcconochie
Fabiola Maisonnier
Erik Agudelo
Paul Capello
Kiron Bondale
Jamie Champagne
Esra Tepeli
Renaldi Gondosubroto
Mel Ross
Laura Lazzerini
Kim Essendrup
Geetha Gopal
David Summers
Carol Martinez
Tai Cochran
Fabio Rigamonti
Archana Shetty
Geneviève Bouchard
Teresa Lawrence, PhD, PMP, CSM
Randall Englund
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Moritz Sprenger
Mike Frenette
O. Chima Okereke
David Maynard
Nancie Celini
Brantlee Underhill
Claudia Alcelay
Sandra MacGillivray
Vibha Tripathi
Sharmila Das
Gina Abudi
Greg Githens
Joy Beatty
Sarah Mersereau
Lawrence Cooper
Donna Gregorio
Seth Greenwald
Bruce Gay
Wael Ramadan
Fiona Lin
Somnath Ghosh
Yasmina Khelifi
Erik Rueter
Joe Shi
Michel Thiry
Heather van Wyk
Jennifer Donahue
Barbara Trautlein
Steve Salisbury
Jill Diffendal
Yves Cavarec
Drew Craig
Stephanie Jaeger
Diana Robertson
Zahid Khan
Benjamin C. Anyacho
Nadia Vincent
Carlos Javier Pampliega García
Norma Lynch
Emily Luijbregts
Susan Coleman
Michelle Stronach
Sydni Neptune
Louise Fournier
Quincy Wright
Nesrin Aykac
Laura Samsó
Lily Woi
Jill Almaguer
Mayte Mata-Sivera
Marcos Arias
Karthik Ramamurthy
Michelle Venezia
Yoram Solomon
Cheryl Lee
Kelly George
Dan Furlong
Kristin Jones
Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
Olivia Montgomery
Carlene Szostak
Hilary Kinney
Annmarie Curley
David Davis

Recent Posts

Are You Going to Be Bitter or Better? Top Takeaways from a Keynote on Change

Lessons Learned From PMI Global Summit 2023

Diversity Celebrated at PMI Global Summit

Lean Portfolio Management to Align Enterprise Strategy

A Glimpse into PMI Global Summit 2023: PMOs, Change Management, Strategy and Networking!


Agile, Agility, alignment, Ask the Expert, Benefits Realization, Best Practices, Bonding, Business Analysis, Calculating Project Value, Capital Projects, Career Development, Change Management, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, collaboration, Communication, Complexity, Congress 2016 Ask an Expert, Construction, Curiosity, Digital Transformation, digital transformation, Documentation, Earned Value Management, Education, EMEA, EMEA Congress Reflections, Engagement, engagement, Ethics, Events, Extra Info, Facilitation, forecasting, future, Generational PM, Global Congress 2016, Global Congress 2016 - North America, Global Summit, Global Summit 2023, Good News, Government, Healthcare, Human Aspects of PM, Human Resources, Identity, Innovation, IT Project Management, Kickoff, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Mentoring, Metrics, Networking, New Practitioners, Nontraditional Project Management, organisations, Organizational Risk, PM & the Economy, PM Think About It, PMI, PMI Congress, PMI Congress NA 2016, PMI EMEA Congress 2018, PMI Global Conference, PMI Global Conference 2017, PMI Global Conference 2019, PMI Global Congress - 2016, PMI Global Congress 2012 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2013 - EMEA, PMI Global Congress 2014 - North America, Pmi global congress 2014 - North America, PMI Global Congress 2015, PMI Global Congress 2015 - Ask the Expert, PMI Global Congress 2016 - EMEA, PMI Hours for Impact, PMI PMO Symposium 2013, PMI Pulse of the Profession, PMI Training, PMI Virtual Experience Series, PMIEMEA17, PMIEMEA19, PMO, PMXPO, Portfolio Management, Procurement, Professional Development, Program Management, Programs (PMO), Project Delivery, Project Failure, project kickoff, Project Planning, Project Requirements, Reflections on the PM Life, Risk, Risk Management, ROI, Roundtable, Scheduling, SeminarsWorld, Social Responsibility, SoftSkills, Stakeholder, Strategy, Sustainability, Talent Management, Teams, Techniques, test, The Moon, Tools, Training, Translations, Videos, Virtual Experience Series, Virtual Teams, Volunteering, war


Are Sector-Specific Project Challenges Really So Different?

Sustainability is a topic that is always on my mind, or rather, how we can do a better job of addressing past and current social and environmental impacts, how we might live more sustainably, and most importantly, how we might proactively plan future products and developments in a responsible, sustainable manner.

When it comes to the last point, I speak and write about this topic quite frequently, with a particular focus on the industrial sectors, an area that often causes a lot of controversy between business and the general public.

A few major things come into play to cause problems for these projects –

  1. Historic performance and failures of the extractives sectors – environmental damage caused from past practices, abandoned and un-reclaimed mine sites, and tailings dam and pipeline failures. These have created a low-trust state for businesses within these sectors.
  2. Most of the general public is not well-informed about the regulatory performance requirements, nor the extensive engagement and review process and approvals now needed before industrial projects proceed. As such, they are led by information distributed primarily by the media, driven by those who might disrupt impartial review processes, or yell the loudest, with constant reference to historic practices to ensure support – the opposition.
  3. Business, while it is getting better, does not have a great track record of external stakeholder engagement and inclusivity. Meaning, community leader input, concerns and objections are not always heard, they are under-valued, and sometimes may simply not be sought out. Or at least not until a project’s studies are much progressed.
  4. As a result of poor engagement, external stakeholders that might be directly impacted may not become aware of proposed developments, or understand the real and potential impacts of them, until late stages of planning and design.

So, the situations that tend to arise are protests, delays of approvals (for example the XL Keystone pipeline), and even outright work stoppages, if construction approvals were somehow granted without gaining agreement from all external stakeholders (even landowners). This is the case for the current Dakota Access Pipeline project, if anyone has paid attention to media coverage on the protests.

I’m reiterating here, but in the extractives sector, studies have shown that up to 70% of project delays (and the costs associated with those delays) are caused by social and environmental challenges.

And having read a number of reports on causes of project failure rates in general, I would be willing to bet that these sustainability issues cause delays for other sectors as well, just perhaps to a lesser degree.

In my opinion, what most of this boils down to is:

  • Managing projects where we might have a lack of understanding about relevant issues and regulatory requirements of the sectors we are working within,
  • Insufficient value recognition, or lack of training, for good engagement and/or communications,
  • Incomplete identification of risks and requirements, and as such – incomplete plans,
  • Mis-aligned teams and stakeholders, and
  • Challenges with project agility.

While the first point may not be as common, the rest are seemingly common themes within the project management community, no matter what the sector – a simple observation anyone can make from a scan of the articles and support available online to project managers.

So our projects aren’t so different after all, are they?

Without appropriate engagement and communications, project teams are bound to miss critical requirements for their project – and as such, develop an incomplete scope to proceed. PMI’s own studies clearly show that poor requirements management (including identification of them) is a primary cause of project failure.

Without ensuring we are all well-aligned to the ultimate project goals, and to understanding when it might be okay to shift strategies to get there, we set ourselves up for failure.

Without the ability to “coddiwomple”, without taking a staged and iterative approach to our projects, and without a willingness to adjust scope and make alternate decisions, as more information is obtained, it is then inevitable that the ultimate goals of the project are put at risk.

But we like to lock in scope, to avoid the management of change, right?

I urge you to stop and think about your project’s ultimate goals.

  • Have you ensured you’ve addressed all the risks and requirements to achieve success? 
  • Have you been willing to adapt scope as required to achieve them?
  • Have you taken the time to learn what might help you achieve greater outcomes?

A team representing various areas of expertise will be located in the exhibition hall in the “Ask the Expert” booth at the upcoming North American PMI Congress in San Diego. 

I’ll be there to help answer any questions you might have about sustainability, integration of these issues into project planning, and stakeholder engagement. Come find me!

Can’t make it and still have questions? Post them here, or connect with me on LinkedIn, or Twitter and send me a message that way. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted by Karen Chovan on: September 09, 2016 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

- Mahatma Gandhi