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Welcome to The Critical Path--the home for community happenings and events on ProjectManagement.com! This is where you'll find community news, updates, upcoming events, featured member posts and more. We'll also be showcasing hot topics in the project management arena and bringing you interviews with industry experts. The Critical Path is our primary way of getting news out to members, so be sure to check back for updates!

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Marjorie Anderson
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
Heather McLarnon

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Carrie Dunn
Danielle Ritter
Kenneth A. Asbury
Craig Dalrymple
Rebecca Braglio
Kristin Jones

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Project Management Institute announces the winners of the 2020 Research & Academic Awards

The Academic & Research Achievement Awards recognize individuals, groups and published works that significantly advanced the concepts, knowledge and practices of project, program and portfolio management.

We are happy to announce the 2020 award winners.

The PMI Linn Stuckenbruck Teaching Excellence Award recognizes and honors an individual faculty member for excellence in teaching project management, and for their strong commitment to improving and enhancing project management curricula in higher education.

The winner of the 2020 PMI Linn Stuckenbruck Teaching Excellence Award is Callum Robert Kidd

Callum has been at the forefront of Project Management education for over 20 years at the University of Manchester. He has been a significant part of the success story of many highly innovative initiatives such as the groundbreaking Project Management Professional Development Program (PMPDP) and the launch of the joint MSc Project Management initiative with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. His development of the PM-PAL (peer assisted learning) project was twice awarded funding from the Deans Teaching and Learning Awards in the Faculty of Engineering and Science at Manchester. He continues to innovate on programs at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and in his new role as Head of Education for the Engineering and Project Management Discipline, has the task of setting the longer-term strategy for PM course delivery across the Faculty of Engineering and Science. “I feel incredibly honored in being chosen to be the 2020 recipient of the PMI Linn Stuckenbruck Teaching Excellence award. To be rewarded for doing something that you passionately enjoy doing always comes as a great surprise, and I thank the Project Management Institute for continuing to champion project management education around the globe,” says Callum Kidd.

The PMI Research Achievement Award recognizes and honors an individual or group of individuals whose work has significantly advanced the concepts, knowledge, and practices of project management through a published body of academic research.

The winner of the 2020 PMI Research Achievement Award is Professor Monique Aubry, PHD, MPM

Monique Aubry, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the School of Business and Management, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Now retired from full professorship, she pursues her research on two main topics: the development of megaprojects and organizing for projects. The results of her work have been published in major academic journals in project management and presented at several research and professional conferences. She founded the Lab for Transfer on Innovative Practices in Project Context and serves now as the director of the scientific committee. She is also a research member of the ESG UQAM Project Management Center and the UQAM’s Health and Society Institute. “This Research Achievement Award has several meanings to me. First, I am proud for the recognition of my research to the advancement of project studies. I feel this pride not only for me, but also more importantly for my colleagues involved in the project management program at UQAM and students. Second, this is a wish at the same time as a meaning; it signals encouragement to embark strongly in research”, shared Professor Aubry.

The PMI David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award recognizes the author(s) of a published book that significantly advances project management knowledge, concepts, and practice.

The winners of the 2020 PMI David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award are Professor Ofer Zwikael and John R Smyrk, for the book “Project Management: A Benefit Realisation Approach”.

Ofer Zwikael is Professor of Management and Director of the Research School of Management at the Australian National University. Ofer’s research broadly focuses on project benefits management and has been published in a number of books and leading journals. Ofer’s research excellence has been recognized in several ways including receiving multiple research awards by the Academy of Management, British Academy of Management, International Project Management Association, Emerald and the Australian Institute of Project Management. Ofer has held leadership roles such as Associate Dean and Associate Editor for the International Journal of Project Management. He has led, trained, mentored and consulted projects and program groups in dozens of organizations. “I fell in love with projects by observation, engagement and participation when working as a project team member. I then learned more about projects in practice, as well as in academia. It is hence a great honor and privilege to be able to share this knowledge and experience with the project management community. I hope that the book will contribute to the education of a new generation of successful project managers who will make a difference to their organizations and our society. I would like to thank PMI for this recognition and their continuous support of the project management community”, says Professor Zwikael.

John Smyrk worked for many years as a senior advisor on significant projects in Australia and across Asia.  These covered a variety of settings including: heavy engineering, industrial processing, business, government and infrastructure. John taught project management on postgraduate programs at a number of Universities for over 25 years and played an active role in various project management research programs resulting in a number of published papers. “Winning this award represents an acknowledgement and acceptance by the project management profession of the (often radical) ideas to emerge from many years of challenging conventional wisdom,” says John Smyrk.

It is with sadness that we share that Mr. Smyrk passed away subsequent to the publication of this article. 

The PMI Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award recognizes the best paper published in the Project Management Journal in the previous year.

The 2020 PMI Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award winning paper is “How Digital Information Transforms Project Delivery Models” by Professor Jennifer Whyte

Jennifer Whyte is a Professor at Imperial College London, and holds the Royal Academy of Engineering and Laing O’Rourke Chair in Systems Integration. Her research is on the delivery of major infrastructure projects, and on the integration of systems, modular and digital delivery strategies. Her work is published in leading international journals including Project Management Journal, International Journal of Project Management, Organization Studies and Research Policy. As a member of Construction Leadership Council in the UK, she has strong links to industry and policy, giving advice based on her research. She has been visiting faculty at Stanford and is Co-Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation at Imperial College London. “I’m delighted to win the 2020 PMI Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award. It is great that the committee recognize the work on How Digital Information Transforms Project Delivery Models. It is an honor to be part of this Project Management Journal Special Issue on Project Delivery Models. I feel passionately about research on projects, and am deeply honored to join such a distinguished set of best paper award winners” shares Professor Whyte.

Congratulations to these 2020 PMI Research & Academic Award winners!

Posted by Laura Schofield on: November 12, 2020 01:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

New Discussion Forum - Certification Central!


















 


 

As many of you know, the PMP® Exam is changing 1 July 2020.

Why is the PMP exam changing?

Every 3 - 5 years, we conduct research to understand how the profession has progressed, the impact of emerging trends, and how the responsibilities of project managers have changed. The last research was conducted in 2015 and resulted in the current PMP® Exam Content Outline

Subject Matter Experts from leading organizations from around the world have worked with us to define the PMP of the future. We will continue to share information here to keep you informed – whether you are thinking about earning the PMP or preparing to take the exam soon.

We know all of you post in Project Management Central asking for best practices in taking the current PMP exam. In order to better streamline the focus of this important topic, we decided to dedicate its own Discussion Forum - Certification Central. We hope this helps with your questions and concerns and receive helpful tips and feedback from your wonderful community members who go the extra mile in providing commentary!

Best of luck to all of you!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: January 19, 2020 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Value of a Principle-based Standard for Project Management

by Dave Violette, PMP

Those engaged in the discipline of managing projects can attest to rapid changes in approaches, methods, and techniques being introduced. The global evolution of how project management (PM) is tackled has been significant, and the pace of change continues at a head-spinning rate. These changes have made it difficult to keep up with developments; and even more, challenges efforts to link existing PM standards to new approaches. No sooner is a standard updated than some new subsuming approach or technique is developed.

Standard setting organizations are now starting to embrace the concept of defining Principles to guide the fundamentals involved in the practice of managing projects and delivering outcomes. Unlike process or approach-centered standards, which lists a series of process recommendations to meet the challenges of effective PM, focusing on Principles provides broader and more adaptable delivery guidance.

My view of PM Principles is that they represent the fundamental essence or norms that guide behavior and thinking at all levels of managing projects. Adhering to Principles helps project managers deliver better outcomes. Principles provide guidance, without imposing uniform adherence to a set of prescriptive processes or approaches.

So, where does the value of following these Principles arise? A set of Principles are used for guidance, rather than dictating how decisions are made or appropriate approaches adopted. Principles remain solid, provide stability, and focus on adapting behavior and thinking in the rapidly changing world of PM. Principles capture and summarize concept(s), action(s), condition(s), or consideration(s) generally recognized as necessary for guiding or influencing PM delivery success.

An example of using a fundamental Principle could be around the proactive engagement with stakeholders. This type of Principle would guide the selection of the specific approach for effective identification of stakeholders—those who have significant influence on project delivery outcomes. It would also provide guidance for the selection of processes to allow for stakeholder interests, rights, and expectations to be understood at a level where stakeholders are effectively engaged. The approach or processes to use needs to be flexible and adaptable to the specific delivery/business environment, so as to effectively engage the stakeholders. Following a stakeholder engagement Principle versus being tied to specific processes, techniques, or tools outlined in process-centered standards would help to ensure effective stakeholder engagement happens. Principle-based decisions can allow for varying situational or environmental adjustments needed for that project.

A second example could be around a fundamental Principle of maintaining a focus on value. Realizing value is a key determinant for project delivery success, the organization either realizes intended value or it does not. An underlying tenet of this focus is continuous evaluation during project delivery considering both the benefits and the costs to realize them—this is Benefits Realization Management. Adhering to a value-focused principle helps the project team ensure alignment with the business objectives and intended outcomes rather than a specific deliverable or result. This sets up an approach where the outcomes help assure the expected benefits from the project work are realized and the intended value to the organization is achieved. In setting up the metrics for tracking project progress, the focus on the value principle requires a means to measure and evaluate whether the project remains on track to deliver the intended value. Each project is unique so no prescriptive metric or evaluation process can work in all cases. Following a value-focused principle though allows the project team to craft metrics and processes that work in their specific environment.

Principle-based standards offer greater flexibility within and adaptability to the project delivery environment. PM Principles guide the thinking and behavior of those engaged in the delivery of a project’s outcomes. Those involved in selecting and following an approach, method, or technique for delivering a specific type of project result can look at agnostic Principles to guide their thinking and behavior versus following a set of prescriptive approaches or processes that may not satisfy the unique challenges of a given project.

Appropriate Principles provide guidance without imposing uniform adherence to a set of prescriptive processes or approaches, whilst embracing differing organizational, cultural, and industrial environments. I firmly believe that standards based on Principles remain solid, provide stability, and focus on adapting behavior and thinking in the rapidly changing world of project management, and is the best approach for the future.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: January 08, 2020 08:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (17)

A Story of Monks, Trees, and New Horizons for the Evolution of the PMBOKĀ® Guide

By Maria Cristina Barbero, PMI Standards Member Advisory Group

The Black Monks, so called in reference to the color of their religious tunics, are monks of the monastic Catholic religious order who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. This Rule provides some guidelines for monastic life where reading is one of the compulsory activities built into a monk’s very regimented schedule. In the 6th century one of them, Cassiodorus, pushed the practice of copying texts of all kinds over just reading them. Copying texts became an important part of life in monasteries.

So, in the Middle Ages monasteries and monks were hubs of culture. Monks were sharing a seat and desk with other monks in “scriptoria” (open spaces for writing activities) where they were dedicated to conserve the biblical knowledge over a world of wars, famine, and epidemics simply through copying texts. To be honest, it was not just about biblical texts but also grammar and later encyclopedias that constituted the body of knowledge these monks wanted to conserve with their work. And, again, it was not just copying. It was also about adding or integrating these texts with something new they could capture during other monks’ travels. The final aim was to transfer this knowledge to posterity as well as have a base for training young pupils, usually sons of princes, kings, and other nobles.

 Let’s focus on how the bodies of knowledge were growing,   transforming, and adapting to new discoveries. In medieval   Christianity all that was known was represented as a static   pyramid having few possibilities of evolution (for example, the   Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and   life, derived from Plato and Aristotle, and thought to have been   decreed by God). Later, the most common representation of   knowledge changed to a tree—the pyramid had been rotated. The tree can expand and evolve. You can add branches and leaves. Seeds generate new trees.

Nowadays a body of knowledge is intended to be a complete set of concepts, terms, and activities that make up a professional practice, as defined by the relevant learned society or professional association. These bodies of knowledge in general evolve in accordance with the “tree model.” The body of knowledge of project management (PMBOK® Guide) is defined by PMI “as a term that describes the knowledge within the profession of project management.” PMI recognizes that the body of knowledge of project management has no definable limits and that “no single book could contain the entire PMBOK.” Therefore, PMI developed and published the PMBOK® Guide which is intended to be a guide to this vast body of knowledge.

The PMBOK® Guide has been for years perceived and used by trainers, consultants, and project managers worldwide as a “golden box” where the knowledge of project management was maintained. Since 1996, like other bodies of knowledge, it is a tree that continuously evolves. More content is added periodically to the constellation of knowledge elements that a project manager should know and use (practices, tools, techniques, skills).

The “tree model” survived for centuries. It is just in the last thirty years that things dramatically accelerated the demand for a new model of representing knowledge and bodies of knowledge. Change enablers include the web, user media and devices, micro-computing, 3rd party platforms, Internet of Things, availability of large volumes of data, communications strengthening, and overall the willingness of humanity to share their own experiences and contribute directly to the growth of knowledge in most sectors and industries.

 Several new contents are available and today each   single body of knowledge potentially collides with other   bodies of knowledge and requires a representation that   is a web where new branches of the original tree draw   over branches of other trees.

Therefore, the evolution of the PMBOK® Guide had to be rethought and that’s what PMI and volunteers did over the last couple of years. My colleagues already introduced areas of change in the PMBOK® Guide and in The Standard for Project Management.

What I want to remark on here is my thoughts on the intrinsic why of this big shift that is not a whim but, more than ever, a need. PMI cannot evolve the body of knowledge following a “tree model” simply adding branches and leaves to the body of knowledge, but must open it to future evolutions in a modern multidisciplinary and digitized context. The structure has to support the evolution of knowledge while at the same time providing a framework that better represents the interaction of a system of systems that influences project performance.

I think this approach to the evolution of the PMBOK® Guide will enable the reasoned and appropriate maintenance of the evolving knowledge and practice of project management.

 

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: November 08, 2019 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Navigating Complexity in Project Management

by: Federico Vargas Uzaga, PMBOK® Guide-Seventh Edition Development Team member

Much is being talked about Value Delivery nowadays. As a matter of fact, many would consider that this is THE major discussion today in the world of project management. If you think about it, value delivery is actually nothing new. Organizations have always embarked on projects to create products (outputs) that would allow them to achieve benefits (outcomes) and hence create value. However, the discussion and positions around the topic have created a division between those who believe a particular way of delivery is the right one and those who disagree as they believe a different approach is needed.

I personally believe that the conditions in which projects are being developed today, with higher levels of uncertainty and complexity, are the cause of such discussion, and that the same conditions require project leaders to make better strategic decisions within their projects to cope with and balance risk exposure in them.

As we know, the risks associated with a project depend, among other things, on the work that needs to be performed and uncertainty determined by the level of clarity or definition of the project’s output and the level of expertise that the project team has.

Taking those two aspects into account, the complexity of the work can be overwhelming and, if not navigated consciously, lead to poor or failed outcomes. The role of the project manager has certainly changed and transmuted requiring a more strategic focus to make better choices regarding delivery life cycles, organizational structure, and development methods. But the focus must remain on delivering outcomes that lead to value creation.

I believe that project management practitioners who survive, thrive, and transform the world are the ones that understand how strategic their role is. These project leaders will navigate through complexity while balancing risk exposure. I suggest that navigating complexity is a fundamental requirement of all projects to one degree or another and is, therefore, a core principle of project management.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: October 30, 2019 07:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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