Summary of Project Management Web Sites and Articles Homework #2 After reviewing the websites in this exercise, I learnt that project management haschanged from a nascent field that it was a few decades ago to a full fledged indispensable need today. What is particularly interesting that in a relatively short span of time, refinement in project management techniques and methodologies has resulted in newer concepts such as Agile project management, PRINCE, and others. This is a far cry from the basic simplistic definition of project management which was a linear execution of activities in phases while keeping scope, time, resource, and cost constraints in mind.
Exploring further, it was discovered that project management has become a multi-disciplinary field taking inputs from diverse areas such as risk management, change management, and even human behavior. The wide acceptance of project management as an essential business requirement seems to have created a fairly big career opportunity with high incomes for practitioners. Almost all industries, or vertical markets, employ the services of project managers1. This has also worked back to enrich the project management methodologies to be applied across a wide spectrum of fields.
Certification in project management is a common requirement and PMI, the Project Management Institute, appears to be the global leader in certifying project managers. The content at PMI’s website is a clear and efficient reflection of the goals of the organization itself. These goals are to become a common global platform for aspiring or existing project managers to network, get certified, access research, and seek career opportunities. Most content on the website is available only to members who can get a basic annual membership for $ 129.
There are discounts for certain categories, such as students, but nothing of value is really free2. The site is not useful for those who want to get a flavor of project management by reading through free articles and content. There is a strong emphasis on certification which seems the second stream of revenue other than memberships on which PMI thrives. This comes as no surprise as, having been in the industry for 40 years, PMI is the one of the oldest certifying organization and has built an eco-system of project management practitioners around its certification platform.
The career guidance section is nicely laid out where job seekers and providers can search based on specified skill sets and certification levels. Additionally, three subscriptions based valuable publications are available. PM Network3 provides project managers with news on trends, practices, case studies and tools. PMI Today4 is to keep global communities of project managers up to date with news on activities, and the Project Management Journal5 is a peer-reviewed research journal published in partnership with Wiley. PMI is not the only membership based training and certifying authority though.
There are other websites of organizations with similar programs with slight variations. Websites of Association for Project Management in the UK (APMG-UK) 6, American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (ASAPM) 7, and Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) 8 each fall into this category. APMG-UK, the UK affiliate of APMG-International, has a wider focus than other similar sites as it offers training, learning, certification and accreditation opportunities in multiple project management methodologies including PRINCE and also related fields of risk management and change management9.
AIPM offers a section on their website with free content containing conference and seminar proceedings and presentations10. As membership data for these three sites was not readily available, a comparison could not be made. Compared to PMI and similar certification sites mentioned, a lot more information is available on other sites in the list. Forums to share ideas, blogs, articles, newsletters, tools, and tips make the rest of the sites richer in content and appeal. A useful regularly updated website is www. maxwideman. com.
It has a meticulously cross referenced glossary11 to understand project management terms which surely is very useful for anyone venturing into this field. The site www. chiefprojectofficer. com has been acquired by Projects@Work so the Projects@Work site was visited directly. Projects@Work is an online free magazine with extensive repository of articles, white papers, resources, case studies, tools, news, and opinion on project management12. PM Boulevard13, another free site, offers similar services. The site www. allpm. com had interesting content but the site seems not to have been updated since 2009. The two articles chosen relate to team management and agile project management.
In the first article, “The Weakness Trap”14, Garold Markle re-emphasizes the oft ignored principle that managers must focus on developing the strengths of their team members rather than getting trapped in a fruitless exercise of spending unlimited time in trying to fix their weaknesses. The article does not suggest forgetting about weaknesses altogether as sometimes they stand in the way of the employee’s association with the team or company. However, only a finite amount of time must be given to this aspect and if it bears no results, it is better to move on.
In comparison, it is far more beneficial to refine and enhance a team member’s strengths to increase his or her usefulness to the team. The second article, “Successful solutions through agile project management”15, describes the importance of agile approach in contemporary project management. The author, Nancy Nee, explains the need for agile approach with a reference to the traditional linear “waterfall” approach where a basic requirement is to expect the client to list all requirements and objectives upfront which are documented and used as a map to track the project’s deliverables.
However, often the client is unable to articulate the requirements resulting in the need to have a flexible yet stable, “adaptive” and feedback based approach to project management. The project is delivered in small iterations of the project lifecycle rather than in one go. The focus in this approach shifts from discrete unchangeable deliverables to “customer value” where a change in requirements is quickly matched with providing competitive advantages to the customer. The article also describes some of the challenges that are faced when shifting from traditional approaches to agile management.
These challenges may include cultural barriers such as where the project manager fails to adopt the required role of a facilitator, lack of management support, and fears of failure in a newer approach. Finally, the article points out that agile project management is not the answer for all types of projects and are better suited for those which involve innovation or exploration such as software development. END NOTES 1 AIPM, “AIPM – 2008 Salary Survey” (http: //www. aipm. com. au/html/2008_salary_survey. cfm) (July 2010) 2 PMI, “Types of Memberships” (http: //www. pmi. org/Membership/Pages/Types-of-Memberships. aspx) (July 2010) 3 PMI, “PM Network” (http: //www. pmi. org/Resources/Pages/PM-Network. aspx) (July 2010) 4 PMI, “PMI Today” (http: //www. pmi. org/Resources/Pages/PMI-Today. aspx) (July 2010) 5 PMI, “Project Management Journal” (http: //www. pmi. org/Resources/Pages/Project-Management-Journal. aspx) (July 2010) 6 APMG-UK, “About APMG-UK” (http: //www. apmg-international. com/APMG-UK/AboutAPMG-UK/AboutAPMG-UK. asp) (July 2010) 7 ASAPM, “Home page” (http: //www. asapm. org/default. asp) (July 2010) 8 AIPM, “AIPM - Australian Institute of Project Management” (http: //www. aipm. com. au/html/default. cfm) (July 2010) 9 APMG-UK, “APMG-UK - Qualifications” (http: //www. apmg-international. com/APMG-UK/QualificationsUK. asp) (July 2010) 10 AIPM, “AIPM – Seminar Papers” (http: //www. aipm. com. au/html/seminar-papers. cfm) (July 2010) 11 Max Wideman, “Wideman comparative glossary of project management terms v3.1” (http: //www. maxwideman. com/pmglossary/index. htm) (July 2010) 12 Projects @ Work, “Project management resources, tools and training for professional project managers. ” (http: //www. projectsatwork. com/) (July 2010) 13 PM Boulevard, (http: //www. pmboulevard. com/Default. aspx? page=92) (July 2010) 14 Garold Markle, “The Weakness Trap”, June 28, 2010, Projects @ Work, (http: //www. projectsatwork. com/article. cfm? ID=257304) (January 2010) 15 Nancy Y.
Nee, “Successful Solutions Through Agile Project Management”, June 28, 2010, PM Boulevard, (http: //www. pmboulevard. com/Default. aspx? page=View%20Content&cid=3160&parent=5970) (January 2010)