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Sorry, I'm Booked

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IT professionals at companies across the United Kingdom need more project and program management training--but they can't seem to find the time for it. That's according to a recent study by U.K. firm Parity Consulting.
    The study questioned 225 IT professionals at 50 large U.K. companies and 75% said they would be investing in program and project management training next year, but 66% said they are too busy at work to undertake as much training as they would like.
    So what should they do? Whose job is it to make sure the employees get the time for training they need?
    In this case, I'm going to say it's the organization's job. They are the ones calling for training, so they need to create an environment where employees feel empowered to get training, even if it means time away from their work. Organizations willing to make an investment in their employees are more likely to keep their employees. And with the talent crunch in full swing, that's something organizations better be focused on.

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Better Government Projects

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People want more accountability out of U.S. federal government programs, according to a new study. Conducted by Primavera, Government 2.0--The Performance Opportunity reveals "that both federal managers and average Americans are calling for management reform in the next administration."
    Some of the key takeaways from the online survey of 3,868 members of the general public and 382 federal managers, included:

  • 75% of Americans would like the government to notify them when a program goes over budget, why it went over budget and how they will fix the problem
  • 65% of federal managers suggest a standardized system for reporting and tracking project updates and changes
  • 55% of federal managers recommend a standardized system for reporting project problems in real time
    So what's so interesting? First of all, I think the ideas behind the findings are something that can be applied to project managers around the globe, not just ones in the United States.
    And it is just more proof that project management adds value--and that it's not something that just project managers see. Even though the general public may not know all the proper terms, they understand the basic concepts behind project management. They are the stakeholders and they want full transparency. And they understand the value accountability brings.

The New ROI, continued ...

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Roger Chou, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan-based CEO of Advanced Business Consulting, a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), recently weighed in on project ROI and the project manager role in strategic direction:

"If executives want project managers to think about the organization's strategic direction, the best way is to include them in the discussion of long-term strategy planning and in the relevant processes that help form a consensus. Constant discussion between executives and project managers on how to achieve the organization's long-term objectives allows project managers to propose feasible solutions, projects or programs that addresses, and is beneficial to, the organization's strategic direction, forming a top-down mutual understanding."

Talking About Innovation

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Increased innovation keeps popping up in discussions on the intangible benefits uncovered in the preliminary results of PMI's Researching the Value of Project Management study.

It's a topic that's covered often in PM Network--just check out "A Closer Look: Film Riot" from January 2008 or "The Big Payoff" from the February 2008 issue. And it's a topic that the business world at large is paying attention to. CIOs--that's chief innovation officers--are more and more becoming a part of the team. Citi, The Chicago Tribune, Humana, YMCA of the USA and Innovolt  have all brought them to the table.

Innovation and project management go hand-in-hand when it comes to driving the overall strategy of an organization. Project professionals have a big role in this--they will be the ones developing, organizing and executing these innovative new projects. Just look at Apple's iPhone or Masdar City--a $22 billion portfolio of mega-projects aimed at building the world's greenest city in Abu Dhabi. There's no telling what project leaders will come up with next.

Want More Information?

The results are in: Project management does have value. If you didn't get a chance to view the full presentation of PMI's Researching the Value of Project Management preliminary results you can still watch it now. You'll hear more about the tangible vs. intangible benefits of project management, along with the importance of fit. It clocks in at about an hour--definitely time well-spent.

The preliminary results of PMI's Researching the Value of Project Management study was given by principal researchers Janice Thomas, Ph.D., and Mark Mullaly, PMP, on 14 July 2008 during PMI's Research Conference in Warsaw, Poland. For more on the study, be sure to check-out the full monograph, available this October.

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.

The Value of Standards

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Did you know that this month PMI is celebrating 25 years of standards creation? Tuesday, I interviewed Debbie O'Bray for an upcoming PMI.org story I am writing on PMI standards. She has been involved in standards development for quite some time and is currently a member of the Standards Member Advisory Group.

The interview got me thinking about the added value of standards. For some project professionals, they serve as a constant companion while for others these standards are guidelines or references project professionals can turn to with questions. But for everyone, the standards help create a common language to help communicate about everything from project scope to risk. And that common language is a key intangible benefit revealed in the Researching the Value of Project Management study.

In the presentation of the study's preliminary results in Warsaw, Poland, principal investigator Janice Thomas, Ph.D., said:

"The good news is that most organizations demonstrate intangible value and its significant intangible value around decision-making, around strategy, around effective work cultures, around alignment of approach, around terminology ..."

For my story, I also interviewed team members of different standard development teams. They devote time--sometimes years--to helping develop PMI's library of standards.

Obviously they see the value of standards. And this leads me to one conclusion: The value of standards and the value of project management go hand in hand.

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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.