State of Our Society, January 2010

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff

The Roman god Janus had a distinguishing feature. He had two faces. No, he wasn’t a dishonest politician! But he was called the god of Gates. Of his faces, one looked back, to learn and apply the lessons of the past. The other looked ahead, to understand the portents of what is to come. We have used that insight in many classes, when we discuss the importance of phase-ending reviews looking at accomplishments and lessons, and then re-estimating and re-planning the next stages or phases, based on what we have learned.

So, we will follow that wise practice here.

The last year has seen the culmination of many years’ efforts, with significant achievements, based on the efforts of many volunteer members. Of special note are the following:

  • Completion and immediate availability of IPMA-USA’s long-planned suite of PM Certifications, by Duncan and his Certification Board
  • Completion of the PRO Standard, by a stellar team of experienced organizational performance improvement “bright lights”, led by Tim Jaques
  • Implementation of a major update of IPMA-USA’s website, inspired by VP Richard Toledo
  • Moving to monthly newsletters, while significantly increasing the number of articles on our site
  • Doubling of activity and members on our Members Only Site
  • Introduction of blogs by Duncan and Goff
  • Plus many more, that followers of our newsletter have noted.

I’d like to point out some key aspects of the above achievements, then do a look-ahead at this new year. By the way, starting as an Assembler Language programmer, where you begin counting at zero, I consider 2010 to be the beginning of a decade, although I’m told it is still the ending year of the last one. We shall save that for next year, when we do a 2020 Vision.

A major factor behind IPMA-USA’s accomplishments has always been the significant efforts of our Board of Directors. William Duncan, who has done more for the practice of Project Management than almost anyone, remains an untiring champion of Performance Competence in PM. And this year, with three new members of the board, Tim Jaques, Neeraj Parolia and Brent Hansen, we also have “new blood”, who are not only getting engaged in IPMA-USA activities, they are getting results.

Our long-term President, Lew Ireland, finished his last term in July of last year. Those achievements I listed above are largely the result of his vision, his efforts, and his leadership. This year we also significantly increased the number of volunteer members who are in some way engaged in our achievements. These range from the stellar volunteers who have delivered our PRO, Performance Rated Organization standard, to excellent writers, who have contributed excellent articles.

For example, it was Peter Taylor who started the flood of excellent new articles, with his Lazy Project Manager series; he recruited friends, who also offered articles. We have a rich, ongoing series from Pavan Kumar Gorakavi, who is also an officer in Young Crew-USA, and (in his spare time) is developing the YC-USA website update. Curt Finch has provided a whole series of pithy and insightful articles; Allen Elder offered an excellent article before he even joined! And so on, with many others. Thanks to Jeff, Denis, André, and Martin!

Looking Ahead
This new year will continue with the momentum we have; many of the items mentioned in the list above will see increasing involvement, as organizations use PRO to assess, certify and improve PM Performance, and as high-performing Project Managers, Senior Project Managers and Program Managers go through the USA’s only suite of PM certifications that assesses ability to perform, with proof of performance.

We will see some exciting new initiatives, some of which are still in the early stages of planning and volunteering. Some examples of these initiatives include a 4th Quarter USA PM Congress in Dallas, and a series of PM Webinars, that clearly accelerate the practice of competent PM beyond simple knowledge, to Performance Competence Development. As a side note, I have said for years that the half-life of knowledge not applied (for example, just crammed for a test) is 6 weeks. Turns out I’ve been wrong. Recent research points to a half-life of 2 weeks. That is yet another reason for us all to move beyond knowledge, to embrace performance competence.

The wonder of Project and Program Management, for me, after 40 years of practice, is that the more I learn, the more I learn there is to learn. It is an open-ended discipline, a lifetime pursuit of ever-increasing Performance in the practice of beneficial personal, organizational, and societal change.

If you are an IPMA-USA member, I salute your vision, and encourage you get engaged in our projects, and to benefit even more from IPMA-USA’s programs. If you are not yet a member, consider joining us, and Celebrate the PM Performance Difference!

May your New Year be prosperous and exciting, and your family safe and strong.