Project Management

PM in Developing Nations

This blog is inspired by observations and findings centered around managing projects in a developing nation. In an uncontrolled environment, project, portfolio and program management tend to face unique challenges that are rarely addressed by published methods from professionals operating in controlled environments. The often volatile and radically changing policies of developing countries leave project managers walking a tightrope of uncertainty, balancing high risks and lean resources with high expectations—and the compulsion to deliver results within given time frames. The author touches on areas like agriculture, brewing, IT, commerce, value chain, expeditions, personal development, tours, volunteerism and event organization using a simple yet poetic method of expression.

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The Euphoria of Project Success


Archiving, Execution, Leadership, Motivation, Project Documents, Team Building, Technology



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PMI, discussing 6 global business trends driving The Project Economy and what they meant for project leaders, Insight 2: of the PM signposts Report for the year 2020, ranked Climate change as one of the biggest existential threats to civilization. However, the pivotal role of project professionals in mitigating this occurrence is brought into play. 


Coupling this with the corroboration of Insight one of the same report, recognizing Africa and most of the developing world, as home to a new generation of talent, ready to tackle a new generation of projects, the CLIMATE AWARENESS, NATURE HIKE PROJECT was born. 


The high-level scope of initiative was to start off a campaign of Climate Awareness and Mitigation Strategies, among young project professionals in Nigeria. This would be achieved by engaging in a nature hike/rock climbing tour, with tree planting activities, group dynamics, education, and physical exercise.


The sunny Saturday morning, of March the 14th, 2020, saw a Climate Awareness and Action field trip happen successfully in Abuja. It was a thrilling and mind-expanding event hosted by the PMI Nigeria Chapter.


We went a step further and took head-on, the UN SDG 13, on Climate Action, by paying a quota to improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.


The question is; What can professionals do, to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning? 


We, at PMI, understand that we have a huge role to play as project, program, and portfolio managers in various organizations, as well as the government, to ensure that this goal is reached.




1. Conquer the “Twin Peaks” (a 60-degree elevation through a 30 Minutes ascent /descent time) in the heart of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. 


2. Get a proper view of the city of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja from an elevated perspective, to enable contemplation for the impact of human activity on our environment.


3. Learn and discuss ways to offset carbon emissions, and enhance policies that reduce our carbon footprints


4. Build the Team Spirit while fostering Love for the Planet amongst members.


5. Educate and task members on Tree Planting exercise.

6. Encourage healthy outdoor activity and fitness amongst members.


7. Foster collaboration amongst Environmentalists and other organizations within the Climate Action atmosphere.


These objectives were reached in furtherance of the milestones set by the chapter when we started a recycling exercise in Lagos, which saw the clean up of the environment while gathering plastics and other recyclables while informing the general public on the importance of recycling. 


A couple of days before the Nature Hike, stakeholders at the Magic Land FCT property were engaged and made aware that PMI volunteers would be hiking on the property to accomplish a noble task. The collaboration committee was set up and an effective communication channel was established.


Prior to the day's activity, some volunteers took the steep hills, head-on, on surveillance of the trail we were to take to the summit, to ensure that this feat would be achievable by a group of people who could include first-timers at rock climbing. This was a risk check. The area and presumed activity were cleared as medium-level risks, by the planning committee.


Project Plans and Project Management documents were being drafted and reviewed and brainstorming was going on. Business Case, Project Charter, Project Scope Document, Activity List, Activity Duration, Risk Assessment alongside a host of other documents.


The main day arrived. We had a turn out of approximately 60 participants, who took the bold step, against all odds, to make it, to the top of the mountain, in the heart of the city.


We were able to carry out most of the activities on a prepared activity list while paying obeisance to schedule. 

We arrived at the top of the Hill at about 7:51 AM and then at about 8:00 AM we engaged in team building activities and Group Dynamics. 


The exhilarating yet exciting climb up the hill had given participants enough time to interact. There were lots of excited screams and shouts. Oohs and squeals of excitement, as we grappled on, feet and hands alike, digging in the side of the rock for grip and footing. 


Participants were thrilled as they made remarks and talked about the breathtaking views as they tried to catch their breath from the medium level intensity climb, about 400 meters up into the clouds.


Finally, the climax! We arrived at the top of the hill. Some minutes to catch our breath and then many more minutes to take in the beauty of the surrounding environment below. We could see the Abuja national stadium beneath us, looking like it was constructed by pieces of lego bricks. We could see many other city monuments also, such as the city gate and the sports velodrome. 


The impact of smog on the city could be gleaned as we noticed the thick fogs, created by emission from cars and other heat and carbon-emitting facilities dankly hanging in the air. 


This made us reflect, as we discussed how global emissions had reduced at a record rate due to the lockdown in China ( as of March 14th, a lockdown had not been imposed on Nigeria as we hadn’t recorded a single case of COVID-19 by then).


It was a moving and memorable experience as we held hands and sang “Earth Songs”. These group dynamics was going to prove to be very symbolic for this was the last time there would be an in-person physical gathering of PMI professional gathering for months.


At the summit, we had an environmental engineer, Anna, throw more light on Climate Change and Climate action we could take in our locality. We had interactive discussion sessions on climate change policies in Nigeria and Africa deliberately emphasizing how we as individuals could alleviate the scourge of Global Warming. 


We demonstrated a Tree Planting exercise and were educated on how to go about this by an agronomist. Each volunteer was tasked and pledged to plant a tree or more and to send in pictures of results to our virtual group after a week.


This nature hike has proven to be an innovative way to drive an enthusiasm of love for our dear planet amongst young people. This is a model that can and will be replicated across Africa and indeed the world as collaborations are being fostered with various other international organizations with a common interest of a sustainable green Earth.


Imagine young professionals from all over the world, holding hands and singing “Heal the World” in unison. We did this and acted at the local level. Our aspiration is global impact. 


In conclusion, the tedious but fun hike is proof to all humans, that with determination and teamwork, it is possible to deliver positive outcomes. We must drive change and growth in our community. The mission is effective collaboration with all tribes and creeds. The vision is to create an environment that will be safe for humanity for generations to come. 


-Stanley Oranika PMP is the Project Lead for the Abuja Outreach, PMI Nigeria Chapter


Posted on: June 20, 2020 08:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Euphoria of Project Success

There’s always this expectation in my head that I will have always have enough time to go through entire project management plans and documents again; especially when the project execution experienced little to zero hick ups, and flowed smoothly through initiation to its closing.


These kinds of projects make you want to scour through lessons learned in repeat; because you relish each and every feeling, every epiphany, every thought, imagined planning process that led to an eventual reality being accomplished, brought out of the confines of the mind, as the fetus of an idea eventually transformed into a tangible goal. Meeting every requirement the customers asked for and completing the project, under budget and on schedule. What other braingasms exist for a project manager?

Remember the nights, when you came home late, and papers were strewn across the drawing room floor, as you tried to manually decompose activities and assign resources while creating a WBS? You had figured out that computer software would not cut it this time. So you had taken to printing Gantt charts and organograms and using your ink as well as your mind and grey matter. Coffee was now your best friend. It made you gain a certain type of razor sharp focus, and you could gain about 10 extra minutes of work every 1 or 2 hours.This was priceless. The joy euphoria of revisiting these, may make you forget that you have these other colleagues, who have been working on similar projects, and maybe discovered even better, faster, smarter ways to do solve problems. This will not phase you though.

You are master of this craft. Alpha PM. Your team was excellent that last time. This method should pull through again, even when issues show up, if given a little more tweaking here and there.


Thanks to new open source software, Microsoft project and android and apple apps, things are becoming a lot more easier. So you click in. Its another world. You have to input loads of data. WPI's for WPD's. Your process becomes even more seamless and very elaborated. Its beautifully worked out. Risks are calculated. Estimates to complete are given in record time. You are emboldened to face your project sponsors, when you present project status reports. You present them with no conflict of choice, just the best way to get the job done in record time. Back in the days, it was mostly about putting the paper to the pen and making a couple of lists. Things are getting better. We can now fit these entire lists in the small devices that fit in our palm, and get the work out, done. A matter of permutations and algorithms.

Have you ever wondered what the future of our project documents and archives would be? I bet not that much. One may reasonably argue that we have come so far, technologically speaking, that the archiving of our digital libraries cannot get any better. With limitless access to an almost infinite resource of bibliography, comes conflict. The conflict of choice, again. You can only choose one method at a time. Thank God for meetings and brainstorming sessions. These paid off their weight in gold. Hold on, do these tools and techniques literally weigh anything anymore?


These can be done digitally these days. Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram groups to the rescue. The project team can easily be grouped into a master mind. Feedback is shared and the best decisions are opted for by general consensus Right there on the dial. You are becoming a better project manager, using modern technology to open up channels in communication.


See the wonder of technology combined with a community of knowledge? It’s almost like magic on steroids. The churning out of ideas that become theory, which are finally baselined after they had been taken apart and reinforced by a collective agreement. As a project leader, I like to buy into my team members feedback. I encourage the team with assurances. I like to allow individuals work freely from a point of relaxation, because I have realized that it's the most natural everyday ideas that bring about the best results. In every mind, there is at least an atom of creativity. This creativity flourishes when individuals are in a comfort zone, to air opinions.

A cocoon, in which an idea may breed and fester, and die a natural death, is what the mind is, until you let out the idea, then it may take wings like a butterfly. I remind them of this weekly. You must unreel your message, like a movie director. Tell it. They may never have been expressed in the form that they take when you do. Your manner of utterance is unparalleled. Unique you. The way you say it, how you tell it, your articulation. Your mode of assertion. Throw in time and place, and them your colleagues. We are here to help with streamlining the idea.


Also consider this, interpretation of your very idea or story may change every now and then, progressive elaboration. Lets stay agile. Let us be very careful not to gold plate the scope. Lets be true to this. I think to myself, is there really time to go back to the past documents?

This another project. Not the same goals. I just want the thrill of the success of accomplishment. We shall consider every aspect that constitutes to our desired goal. We shall work as a team. We shall brave the storm, form alliances, normalize these ups and downs and we shall outperform expectations. Eventually, we shall pop some champagne as we celebrate success, at the close of project.


Posted on: October 13, 2018 06:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

- Dan Quayle