09 April 2015 | 9:00
Amin Saidoun

How to avoid killing Project Management softly

What will follow may be observed principally in many countries and in many organisations. I took some information and thoughts from readings and experiences partly made and observed over the past years as project manager in Algeria.

There are some good companies where project management is well-known and even better well-practiced and internalized in the organisations’ management and leadership culture.

Let’s focus on those organisations where project management is a foreign word or even worse, where it was killed.

To make an organisation (company, administration or association) work, we need a management, projects and project management in order to allow men and women to progress.

However in this chain, the element project management is often non-existent or if so, it is broken. Worse, it was broken by Men (with a big M). Why ?
Now it becomes interesting. In the Algerian context, critical origins of this break are:

  • the capitulation towards a simple chain of command. For example, a requirement plan signed between an Algerian architect, an engineering company and a construction company. Objective: constructing an office building. In practice, the construction company did not respect the plan with no obvious and justified reason and without informing the interested parties.
  • the non observation of the rule and the absence of controlling. For instance, management of an Algerian SME in the coating industry validated a development plan including the launch of a new product (coating). The managing director did not taken into consideration the validated plan, pretending there were other priorities without informing the owners of the company
  • not recognizing the incompetence to project manage. For example, the manager of an Algerian small enterprise does not recruit a more competent and motivated project manager pretending the financial resources are too scarce.
  • fear of preparing for succession, fear of creating lines of life and sustainability in the organisation. Instead people focus on a line or matrix of destruction and death. For example, an Algerian family company did not manage properly the decision-making and communication process with the interested parties in the pre-project phase of a succession planning when it came to decide on who among the three successors would manage the company in the future. The result was avoidance of the subject during many years until the father (owner of the company) died and the fight for succession started. At the end, the company was sold.
  • To transform the lines of death into lines of life, a project manager must get men and women back in the center of the organisation and the project. This is precisely why mastering IPMA behavioural project management competences is so critical in this transformation process and to make it short, can contribute to avoid killing project management softly.

Finally one can believe that despite all intellectual attempts and approaches to describe the concept, Project Management is something physical ! No theory has ever cured any anxiety or neurosis as the doctors say.

One can know everything about project management theory. However, people need to have a direction and understand the essence of project management for themselves and society as a whole. More important, they need a clear and well-expressed recognition of their person and achievements in the value chain of project management. This in turn calls for leadership among project managers, i.e. the ability to show the way, to inspire men and women that form the organisations.

In this sense and to recognize and inspire experts and non experts in project management, IPMA is organising and supporting with its local partners the set-up of project management conferences in North Africa and the Middle East over the next months, starting with Morocco (Casablanca 02.04.2015), Saudi-Arabia (28-29.04.2015) and Algeria (23.05.2015).

In Morocco, the conference will cover the strategic importance of project management as a solution to societal challenges, project management and management of change and the position of the project manager in the change process. It will also be the occasion to address success and failures in projects with examples drawn from the Moroccan transport sector, in particular the high speed train project LGV between Casablanca and Tangiers.

Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca, Morocco

In Algeria, the format of the event will include both a conference and workshops. The subjects will include project management as a catalyst for change, shared experiences from the construction of the Algerian underground (Metro d’Alger), managing a projects such as the implementation of an ISO Standard in a stock listed Algerian company from the agro-business, project management in the restructuring and urban planning of a 5 million people capital and the importance of training and certification of project managers according to IPMA competence baseline.

Algiers, Algeria
Algiers, Algeria

In Saudi Arabia, IPMA in co-operation with the Saudi Council of Engineers supports the organisation of a conference among with the following topics: clarifying the project management methods to implement development plans, exchange of best practices in project management and the role of project management offices in the successful implementation of projects.

Ryadh, Saudi-Arabia
Ryadh, Saudi-Arabia

In all three countries, the target audience are managers from the private and public sector, large royal family companies (Morocco and Saudi-Arabia), medium-sized companies and universities.

 In all three countries where project management associations do not yet exist, IPMA supports strongly the incubation and creation of project management organisations that may join in some point of time the IPMA federation, in-challah ! 

Written by
Amin Saidoun

Amin Saidoun is Executive Director of International Project Management Association, an international federation of project management associations around the world. Amin Saidoun, is an economist and graduate from London School of Economics and Political Sciences. He is a project manager who gained his 20 years of experience in international projects both in medium sized and multinational organisations in auditing, consulting and the logistics domain. As Executive Director of IPMA, he is in charge of the area Finance and Administration, Business Development of IPMA activities in Africa and the Middle-East and involved is various internal development projects and governance. He is author and co-author on various project management and business administration related articles. Among his areas of interest: intercultural project management

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