Dear Project Management for Future Leaders blog readers,
We are honoured to have Walter Ginevri write about his experiences with PMI and the passion he has for bringing the world of project management to young people. Walter is a PMI Fellow, Past-President of the Northern Italy Chapter, current member of the PMIEF Board and father of a fantastic toolkit for primary school students.
I am certain you will thoroughly enjoy Walter’s article and the items to which he has provided links. Many thanks to Walter for taking the time and effort to submit it for our reading pleasure.
Grazie Mille, Walter!
My professional story before and after volunteering for PMI & PMIEF
by Walter Ginevri, PMI Fellow
If I think about history books, the most recurrent time boundary is related to the birth of Jesus, in relation to which events are divided through the suffix B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini).
However, if I think about my professional history, the time boundary I can use to go from “before” to “after” is 2006, the year I started volunteering for PMI and PMIEF.
Because, thanks to that decision, I’ve been able to understand the deep essence of project management, to change progressively many of my convictions, to make my profession more exciting and motivating, to become a better professional and an open-minded citizen of the global world.
With regard to my PMI volunteering, in January 2006 I joined the Board of the PMI Northern Italy Chapter, a professional community of almost 400 members. After ten years of exciting experiences, including a research project about complexity theory applied to projects, I left a chapter with almost 2000 members and a retention rate amongst the highest worldwide.
With regard to my PMIEF volunteering, from 2006 onward, I’ve devoted myself to the dissemination of the project language within primary schools. Here again, it has been an inspiring experience that allowed me not only to spread a toolkit currently available in 14 languages (https://pmief.org/library/resources/projects-from-the-future-kit-for-primary-school), but also to share my storytelling with Bernie Trilling in a book focused on the link between project management and education (https://pmief.org/library/project-management-for-education).
Now, what I’d like to share with you is the following list of statements in which I’ve tried summarize the progressive evolution of my way of being a project management professional before volunteering (B.V.) and after volunteering (A.V.) for PMI and PMIEF. In particular, the following reflections are the outcomes of my collaboration with dozens of primary school teachers, passionate people who taught me how to live my profession, wonderful people who have the delicate mission of preparing new generations for a bright future.
B.V. #1: Project management is a technical discipline constituted by a wide set of best practices to be adapted by a professional and applied to a specific business context.
A.V. #1: Project management is a universal language that can be practiced by everybody because it makes available a wide set of intuitive tools for “thinking & doing”. The fact that “Project-Based Learning” is the most popular trend within school systems represents a further evidence of this statement.
B.V. #2: A project manager is constantly looking for the “optimum”, even if the context is characterized by a high level of complexity and uncertainty.
A.V. #2: A project manager is constantly moving through different domains that can be: simple, complicated, complex and chaotic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynefin_framework). So, a project manager must be able to combine different strategies (e.g. “design & implementation” versus “exploration & exploitation”) and, sometimes, to search and accept “sub-optimal” solutions (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/330323.A_Treatise_on_Efficacy).
B.V. #3: The most important part of a project journey is the destination, that is, the set of deliverables agreed with the customer.
A.V. #3: Since a project is a collective experience, the delivery is just as important as the experiential journey through which each team member has the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally.
B.V. #4: The ability to manage chronological time is essential in order to meet project deadlines and set the pace of the project team.
A.V. #4: Besides “quantitative time”, a project practitioner must be able to manage “qualitative time”, the time not measurable in minutes, hours or days because it’s the time spent to engage a critical stakeholder, to catch emerging issues and weak signals, to practice active listening and provide feedback, to empower the project team and, in general, to stimulate the most powerful intrinsic motivators of people: autonomy, mastery and purpose (https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation).
B.V. #5: Project management books are the best way to enrich the knowledge of a professional who works in complex environments.
A.V. #5: In addition to specialists’ books, it’s essential to continue to explore the multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural dimension of project management. For example, a book about ethnography contains many ideas and best practices that can be used to manage project stakeholders. As further examples, some masterworks of literature such as Don Quixote or Pinocchio can help us to comprehend the essence of leadership much better than many books that promise to transform everybody into a leader. In general, every effort to enrich both scientific and humanistic knowledge is the best investment for a practitioner who wants to “make project management indispensable for business results”.
B.V. #6: Project management should be taught in secondary schools and universities so that students can be more prepared to enter the labour market.
A.V. #6: Primary school is the ideal place to start the dissemination of project language because of its extraordinary effects on students’ learning processes and life skills, such as: creative and critical thinking, communication and collaboration (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Cs_of_21st_century_learning).
B.V. #7: The PMI Talent Triangle is a very effective framework to represent the ideal skill mix of a project management practitioner and the way to strengthen it.
A.V. #7: In addition to strategic business management, technical project management, and leadership, there is a fourth dimension corresponding to the transformative aspect of volunteering, an experience that, not only transforms you as an individual, but it even changes the talent triangle to a 3-dimensional pyramid.
This is my personal view of project management before and after PMI & PMIEF volunteering. So, I'm not speaking on behalf of the PMIEF Board, but more as a seasoned volunteer and project manager.
I hope it will be helpful for all those who agree with this quote of Alvin Toffler, an American futurist:
“'The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
I have a friend in Brazil, Lélio Varella, whose email signature includes, together with Project Manager: "The tool of prosperity".
Seeing this for the first time, I reflected on the subject, and I had to agree with my dear friend.
As project managers we have the unique opportunity to be protagonists of change that can impact positively (or negatively) on the lives of a few or millions of people.
More and more people, especially young people, are increasingly worried about the purpose of what they do.
Have you already stopped to think beyond the delivery of the products of the projects in which you participated? Have you identified their underlying purposes?
No?! So - let's look at some examples to clarify the link between your projects and their broader purposes.
Imagine an expansion project of a manufacturing line in an industry. The final product can be a new assembly line. But this project will also create new opportunities for employment.
In a project for a new highway, besides the delivery of the highway itself, you may be participating in the necessary foundations leading to the development of an entire region.
In the case of an environmental project you will be contributing to the quality of life for future generations.
This way of looking at the broader purposes of our projects gives us a better understanding of our roles as effective project managers and our responsibilities as agents of change that impact people, companies, nations, and many other important societal matters.
Nothing can be more motivating than actively participating in projects that have broader purposes with which we agree.
Some key questions are: What are your purposes in this life? Is one of them teaching young people about project management? What do you think will bring them to the realization that many things they do are projects, including things in their own lives, motivating them to learn more about project management, showing them that the purposes and impacts of a project go beyond its direct products and that, as project managers, they can collaborate to make their purposes a reality?
Let's make the difference we want so much by helping young people who will be the leaders in the future!
(translation to portuguese)
Eu tenho um amigo no Brasil, Lélio Varella, cuja assinatura de e-mail inclui, juntamente com o título Gerente de Projeto: "A ferramenta da prosperidade".
Ao ver isso pela primeira vez, refleti sobre o assunto, e eu tive que concordar com meu querido amigo.
Como gerentes de projetos, temos a oportunidade única de ser protagonistas de mudanças que podem impactar positivamente (ou negativamente) nas vidas de algumas poucas ou milhões de pessoas.
Mais e mais pessoas, especialmente os jovens, estão cada vez mais preocupadas com o propósito do que eles fazem.
Você já parou para pensar para além da entrega dos produtos dos projetos nos quais você participou? Você identificou seus propósitos subjacentes?
Não?! Então - vamos ver alguns exemplos para esclarecer o link entre seus projetos e seus propósitos mais amplos.
Imagine um projeto de expansão de uma linha de fabricação em uma indústria. O produto final pode ser uma nova linha de montagem. Mas este projeto também criará novas oportunidades de emprego.
Em um projeto para uma nova rodovia, além da entrega da rodovia em si, você pode estar participando das bases necessárias para o desenvolvimento de toda uma região.
No caso de um projeto ambiental, você estará contribuindo para a qualidade de vida das gerações futuras.
Essa maneira de analisar os objetivos mais amplos de nossos projetos nos dá uma melhor compreensão de nossos papéis como efetivos gerentes de projetos e nossas responsabilidades como agentes de mudanças que afetam pessoas, empresas, nações e muitos outros aspectos importantes da sociedade.
Nada pode ser mais motivador do que participar ativamente de projetos com propósitos mais amplos com os quais você concorda.
Algumas questões-chave são: Quais são seus propósitos nesta vida? Um deles é ensinar gerenciamento de projetos aos jovens? O que você pensa de fazê-los perceber que muitas coisas que eles fazem são projetos, incluindo coisas em suas próprias vidas, motivando-os a aprender mais sobre gerenciamento de projetos mostrando que os propósitos e impactos de um projeto vão além de seus produtos diretos e que, como gerentes de projetos, eles podem colaborar para tornar seus propósitos em realidade?
Vamos fazer a diferença que tanto queremos ajudando os jovens que serão os líderes no futuro!
I have had a lot of rewarding experiences with PMI. I’ve been volunteering since 1989 when I started the first student chapter of PMI at Western Carolina University. I’ve really enjoyed being a Chapter President of the NC chapter and a Regional Mentor for Region 5. For the past 6 years I’ve had the wonderful privilege of being a director of the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF). An experience that has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life.
I started on the PMIEF Board at a very exciting time. Prior to 2011 PMIEF was mostly self-funded and focused their resources on providing scholarships and awards. However, in 2011 PMI realized the strategic importance of PMIEF in meeting their strategic objectives related to Project Management for Social Good. So, they funded a Vision-Driven Project to enable Project Management for 13 to 19 year olds. This project had been approved just before I joined the board. I was very lucky to see the project flourish and provide the foundation for the future impact by PMIEF.
One key strategy that has enabled the success of PMIEF is to enable others to be successful. So, PMIEF staff worked with experts in Project Based Education to build an infrastructure of experts and asked them what they would focus on to enable Project Management Education for 13 to 19 year olds. This group of experts is called the Project Learning Network (PLN). PMIEF convened PLN in a series of meetings to brainstorm the best approach to bringing the most value through project management to our youth. During the first of these meetings it was exciting to see the participants realize the potential of working together to create new programs that enable teachers and students in the classroom.
Through a series of strategic grants to many of these expert organization, PMIEF has enabled teachers and students throughout the world to enhance their learning through project management. These grants have shown proven results and have reached several thousand students around the world. PMIEF board members worked with PMIEF staff to capture metrics to show the outputs, outcomes, and the direct impact of the grants. PMIEF is working toward showing that direct impact on students as they gain more confidence in their ability to achieve more in the classroom through project management.
In the past six years, PMIEF staff and the board have matured the approach to enabling Project Based Learning for 13 to 19 year olds and have developed a roadmap of strategic initiatives to bring the benefits of project management to other younger age groups in school.
PMIEF also focused on enabling non-profit organizations on the front lines of helping society. Using the same philosophy of enabling experts to be successful, PMIEF has provided several grants to non-profit organizations to deliver more for social good.
As part of the Project Management for Future Leaders collaborative blog, my series on this subject will go deeper into:
The experience being on the PMIEF board has changed my life: I saw first hand the impact project management can have on the lives of young people and the direct impact on their future success.
A New Collaborative Blog
Welcome to our newly minted Blog, Project Management for Future Leaders. It was created because of some enthusiastic discussions among several graduates of the PMI LIMC (Leadership Institute Master Class).
It all came about late last year in November. Titi Park asked, “Can anyone recommend any material/books for teaching kids project management?” Several people responded, citing the PMI Educational Foundation as a great source. As it turned out, Titi is the PMIEF Liaison for her PMI chapter, so already knew all about PMIEF, PMI’s foundation for spreading ideas and materials about project management to students in schools, non-for-profit agencies and for providing scholarships to students of project management.
The Whatsapp group chat we use as LIMC grads lit up with suggestions.
Rochelle suggested contacting the Turkish chapters about a presentation at a Region meeting where they showed how they taught project management to young kids. The Work Breakdown Structure was shown as a tree, with branches, the schedule as a calendar and reporting based on red, orange, green using coloured paper on cd envelopes with a circular window. These simple ideas made it easy for primary school kids to understand and use the concepts. Ideas for teacher engagement and selling the concept to school boards were also cited as being very useful.
Others recommended the PMI Mile Hi Chapter in Denver since they initiate projects at inner city schools, offer scholarship for students to progress in project management, and even mentor and coach students through school and into university.
Sarina recommended contacting Stefano and Walter at the Northern Italy Chapter. This chapter, and Walter in particular, have been very involved with PMIEF and the creation of a PM handbook and unique tools for students. Walter has also co-written a book published by PMIEF called “Project Management for Education - The Bridge to 21st Century Learning”.
Allan Mills, has just finished a 6-year term on the PMIEF Board of Directors, including a year as Chair. Allan has enjoyed being involved in the rapid expansion of PMIEF to enable teachers and students achieve more through project management. He is looking forward to sharing his personal first-hand experiences and describing how PMIEF has impacted lives around the world.
Andres let us know that the Argentine government added a Social Community Project to the high school curriculum for 17/18 year olds: a mandatory program starting in 2017. He was invited to teach for the Colegio ICEI school and accepted. This is the only school in Argentina using PM-based teaching and will soon be the first Spanish-speaking school to take the PMIEF Badging exam. Andres has been using PMIEF materials to supplement his own experiences along with some books and videos on using PM for social good. He also mentioned that two past presidents of PMI Nuevo Cuyo chapter did a lot of work with the school CEO and principal including meetings, workshop with teachers (Pablo former student of the school) and Gustavo (his daughters study there). They have been engaged in almost four years of “ant” work (trabajo de hormiga, meaning little by little).
Paulo said that in Calgary, Canada they are using PMIEF Skills for Life and Tower Challenges along with a planning tool called the Project Management Canvas. Several LIMCers expressed interest in seeing a presentation on this simple yet useful tool for kids and non for profit organizations.
Agnieszka Krogulec from the PMI Poland Chapter offered to share lessons learned on project management kids camp and pm@schools, as did Titi Park.
Stefano let us know that a Primary School Kit was created in Italy, and that the Northern Italy Chapter Past President and PMI Fellow, Walter Ginevri is the “father of the kit”, which is now owned by PMIEF and is being used by children all over the world. For over ten years, PMI-NIC conduct a Projects in Bloom Festival with hundreds of children, parents and teachers, demonstrating the light part of project management. Stefano offered support and directions to mentor and highly recommends Walter’s Primary School Kit.
I read with great interest all the fabulous discussion about PMIEF and how project management can be such a valuable tool for kids. I suggested there might be benefit to blogging about this on projectmanagement.com in a collaborative blog format. Several people raised their [virtual] hands! And here we are, just starting up our new blog where we will post items every few weeks.
Please allow me to introduce you to our international collaborative blog team, listed in random order:
Naeem is from Islamabad, Pakistan. He is a passionate Project Management Professional with 20 years of experience who truly believes in enabling people to achieve common objectives. He wanted to blog here to help youth optimally utilize their potential, organise their lives, lead a happy life and be better citizens.
Naeem plans to blog about why kids should be interested in project management, the tools that are available to youth, how to excel in school and how to better manage time.
Allan is from Maryland, USA. He has worked in the Project Management field for over twenty seven years in Government, IT, Entertainment and Banking. His most current passion, and recent certification acquired, is Scaled Agile, and he coaches organizations implementing the Scaled Agile framework (SAFe). Allan was the 2015 Chair of the PMI – Educational Foundation (PMIEF) Board of Directors and was on the board since 2012. His other PMI experience includes PMI Region 5 Mentor and President of the North Carolina Chapter in 2003. Allan has been married for 22 years to Jeanne and has a daughter Eva 21 and son Arran 18, both in college. He loves the idea of partnering with experts in project based learning such as the Buck Institute, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Destination Imagination, and Junior Achievement. He looks forward to sharing stories about the impact on children and the teachers and hopes to inspire sharing and implementation of these programs.
Allan wants to blog about enabling skills through project-based learning, how PMIEF is working with the Buck Institute, how students are more engaged in school through Project Management and how a PMI chapter can increase their programs for the good of society..
Adilson Pize lives in Caxias do Sul, Brazil. An enthusiast of project management, he is a consultant, teacher, writer and speaker. He created the SPCanvas (Strategic Planning Canvas) and PSACanvas (Project Strategic Alignment Canvas) methods. He loves volunteering and has done so for PMI since 2003 in several chapter and PMI Global roles. He feels everyone has the power to be what they desire to be and to achieve their dreams. He wants to help young people realize their dreams and goals through projects and project management. He feels as agents of change, young people can understand how they can transform their future and the future of others for the better. Adilson is passionate about sports, movies and books. His parents, younger sister and girlfriend are all supporters in his life.
Adilson wishes to blog about the power young people have to transform their lives, careers, organizations and nations through project management.
Titi Park is from Lagos, Nigeria. She has a passion for empowering young women especially, and youths in general, through project management. She wants to blog about her experiences and perspectives in the area of youth empowerment through Project Management. Her goal is to inspire others and, in particular, Africans, as she feels the continent has many things that are different from area of the world that can be improved through project management. She hopes that others will start with little activities to immediately influence their communities through project management.
She is happily married to Gordon, her biggest cheerleader, for 16 years and counting.
Titi is looking forward to blogging on “The Project Manager in the Mirror” and “Project Management as a life skill”.
Agnieszka lives in Poland. She has over 15 years of experience in financial, gas and oil, telecom and real estate. Her projects have included organizational and human-capital development. Her experience in training delivery makes her a great candidate to mentor and coach and mentor young people in the use of project management to improve their lives. Agnieszka is an active member of the PMI Poland Chapter and is passionate about social leadership to change the world for the better.
Sanjay lives in Tampa/St. Petersburg, USA. He is an IT Project Manager, Architect and PMP, and has worked for over 15 years with Fortune 500 companies. He is VP of Strategic Projects for his PMI chapter and has responsibilities for outreach programs. He enjoys working in highly highly complex projects being run in multiple countries. Multicultural, multi-vendor onshore and offshore are the order of the day for Sanjay.
Agnieszka and Sanjay were not able to provide as much detail as the other members of our team did due to work commitments, but we will introduce them more fully in a future article.
That’s me: the author of this first post. I’ll use the first person since talking about myself in the third person will just feel weird. I live in Halifax, Canada with my wife, Sue. Our kids (well, they used to be kids) are also geographically dispersed. Marie (Seoul), Mike Jr. (Vancouver) and Liam (Halifax). Some aspects of project management are infiltrating their lives for some reason.
For my paid work, I manage the PMO in the Engineering and IS department of a water utility and worked prior to that as an PM/IT consultant for many years. I have volunteered with PMI pretty much continuously since 1999 in both local and global roles. I always say that volunteering gets in your blood.
I suggested this blog when I witnessed all the enthusiasm in the LIMC Alumni Whatsapp group that brings together almost a hundred LIMC graduates from many areas around the world. I have enjoyed being a mentor and coach for decades, and feel that working with young people to help them understand project management is a natural extension of this predilection. But work of this nature cannot be done by a few individuals. It can be accomplished only by many geographically dispersed groups of avidly passionate people, of which this group of bloggers is only a very small part. We hope we can help PMIEF and similar organizations spread the word and feel this blog will encourage others to dive in and take part.
Like my blogging colleagues, my plan is to write about empowering youth through project management and to shine a light on the great work done by organizations like PMI Chapters and PMIEF.
We are all very excited to get started, and have already planned some topics. But please feel free to make suggestions in the comments area below about how to encourage youths to learn about project management and we will add them to our list of possible blog topics.
Onward and upward!