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The Talent Value

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Okay, after lots of discussion around the preliminary results of PMI's Researching the Value of Project Management, I think we can all agree that project management does indeed bring value to the organization. But we haven't really talked about the people delivering that value--and where companies are going to find them.

Developing economies like India and Latin America are struggling to find enough people while established economies like Europe and the United States are struggling to find the right people. Indonesia, for example, is expected to be 12,000 project managers short in the oil and gas, mining, IT and telecommunications industries over the next five years.

At PMI's recent Latin America Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ricardo Viana Vargas, PMP, gave a great example that pretty much summed it all up. He recalled getting an e-mail from an Australian colleague with only three sentences: "I need a specialist in iron ore projects to work here. I need it now. Don't worry about the cost."

So what's a company to do? "The Great Talent Shortage," a January 2008 article in PM Network, provided some solutions. Here are a few:

"Call it sharing, stealing, enticing--we all have to go to the same pool to get people. You have to raid your competition, and they do the same."
--Yahya Khader, CEO, Clough Zuhair Fayez Partnership, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

"It's extremely important to hire a certain proportion of new project managers from outside your industry. It's the only way you can get fresh thinking and a new look at how you do business. Yet, human resource departments tend to always advertise in the same place and look for the same characteristics as the previous employee."
--Uma Gupta, Ph.D., PMP, senior advisor to the provost at the State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA

"Organizations are being more responsive to offering longer leave periods, better parental-leave provisions and a far greater proportion of performance-based payments. Measuring workplace satisfaction is becoming more common, with companies looking at their main employment brand attributes and developing programs to address gaps through benefits, mentoring, or training and development."
--Paul Bell, managing director, Fanselow Bell, Nelson, New Zealand

Of course, all of those things are often easier said than done. Companies have to make the commitment to not only recruit and retain the cream of the crop, but also to groom the next generation of project management leaders.

Coming Soon ...

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Want proof that project management does add value to organizations? Check out a short video on Researching the Value of Project Management featuring fresh insights on both the tangible and intangible benefits of project management from principal investigators Janice Thomas, Ph.D., and Mark Mullaly, PMP, and some of the study's contributing researchers, including Terence J. Cooke-Davies, Ph.D.

On the Street

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In the days following the release of the preliminary results from Researching the Value of Project Management, conference-goers weighed in on the importance of the study. Here is a snapshot of some of their thoughts:

 "It's a landmark study that we all have been looking forward to. ... The results will be felt for many years to come."
--Frank Anbari, Ph.D., United States

"They've gathered a huge quality of very valuable data, the analysis of which will probably take a couple of years. So the presentation that Janice [Thomas] and Mark [Mullaly] gave just gives us the tip of the iceberg. I think they did a very good job presenting how rich that data is, but one thing became very clear out of it. There's a bit of a paradox here. Companies are asking for ROI, but even when they have the opportunity they're not measuring the cost of the benefits."
--Brian Hobbs, PMP, University of Quebec, Quebec, Montreal, Canada

"It was a huge study. ...I can see some very interesting case study work coming out of that and I'd be very keen to read it."
--Derek Walker, Australia

"One thing that struck me in the results of the Researching the Value of Project Management is that there were no companies that were at the [higher] maturity levels. To me, that might be an indication that companies stop at certain points. They see value in project management and they invest in getting common models, common training for their project managers, common terminology, but after a certain level of maturity they stop. So that's probably something that needs to be further investigated to understand ..."
--Yven Petit, PMP, Canada

Come back for more interviews.

The Right Fit

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I finally had them right where I wanted them.

 After their big reveal last week at PMI's Research Conference in Warsaw, Poland, Janice Thomas, Ph.D., and Mark Mullaly, PMP, sat down for an interview, and I could ask them anything about their Researching the Value of Project Management study. It was a wide-ranging discussion covering everything from selling skeptical executives on project management to the number of motorcycles purchased by researchers during the course of the study. (For the record, the answer to that last one would be three.)

I agree with all the fine points made by my fellow blogger and PMI.org editor Kelley Hunsberger in her earlier post.

But what struck me the most--and what I'm still thinking about nearly a week later--was how often talk around the study still comes down to the deceptively simple issue of fit. It seems so basic, but that doesn't make it any less important. For project management to truly show value, companies have to make it their own--attuned to the culture of their country and their organization.

Like the study itself, the authors were full of information and I'll have much, much more on this interview. And be sure to come back to PMI.org/value in August when parts of the interview will be available for viewing.

Behind the Scenes

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To get ready for tomorrow, Gregory Balestrero, PMI president & CEO, and Philip Diab, chair of the PMI Board of Directors, sat down to tape opening messages to air before the live presentation of Researching the Value of Project Management--in full makeup and all. They both seemed very excited about the findings ... but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear all the details.

The Value of Volunteering

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While in Warsaw for the Research Conference, I had the pleasure to meet with Piotr Plewinski, PMP, yesterday morning. Piotr, who is with the Gdansk Branch of the PMI Poland Chapter, was going to take me to see the summer camp the chapter has run for five years for Polish orphans, a camp where they take classes in English as a second language. Since I have published several articles about this camp in PMI Today, I was very excited to go and these plans were long in the making. Unfortunately (but fortunately for Poland), road projects tied to the Euro 2012 championship to be hosted by Poland and Ukraine interfered with our plans.

It seems that normally it would take about 2 and one-half hours for a fast native Polish driver like Piotr to get from Warsaw to the camp near Gdansk, but he said that unpredicable weekend traffic jams from road construction would probably increase that time to about 5 hours each way--too difficult to make as a one-day round trip.

So Piotr and I chatted in a cafe about the  camp, how much he has seen the program and the orphans grow in the five years the chapter has run it, the great benefit the campers will see from this education (being more able to get high-paying jobs in construction and other fields), and the challenges of running a volunteer project like this for a chapter that just recently completed the conversion to chapter with branches. One challenge involves the departure of the program manager, who is scheduled to have a baby in August.

I am privileged to know people in the PMI world like Piotr who take project management into the social responsibility realm and really make a difference. Now that's a value of project management! 

Breaking News

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I've just learned that following the live presentation of Researching the Value of Project Management there will be live interviews with principal investigators Janice Thomas, Ph.D., and Mark Mullaly, PMP. Everyone will want to stay tuned for that ...

Lights, Camera, Action ...

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crew_saturday.jpgAfter a brief panic over lost luggage, the crew for Monday's Researching the Value of Project Managment live presentation has arrived in Warsaw--with five cases of cameras, lights, audio equipment, power converters, cables and audio mixers. Today we're setting up a suite for interviews and scouting a few locations. We're ready to roll. 

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Voices of Project Management is the place for all things project management—covering sustainability, talent management, ROI, programs and portfolios and all points in between. The goal is to spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with, want more information on or even disagree with leave a comment.