Posts Tagged ‘project keynote’

Professionalise Project Management

August 1, 2017

The following is an extract from my new book ‘How to get Fired at the C-Level: Why mismanaging change is the biggest risk of all’ in association with my friends at Tailwind Project Solutions – the extracts follow a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – this is the final of the five challenges:

Invest in great project management skills – not just project managers

And how can you Invest in great project management skills? Perhaps we might begin with the PMO.

Since PMOs lead the project management community – either directly or indirectly, according to your PMO model (see appendices) – then by considering what the best PMOs offer we can gain some insight and see that:

  • The best PMOs have consistent, repeatable PM practices across the enterprise. All projects are held to the same standards and requirements for success. They have also eliminated redundant, bureaucratic PM practices that have slowed down projects
  • The best PMOs have the most experienced PMs in place and have a program underway to recruit the best PMs, develop their existing PMs into the best and to maintain this level of quality and experience
  • The best PMOs sponsor training and facilitate communities of practice to promote PM best practices in their organisations. Such communities of practice provide PMs with a forum to share their knowledge and share experiences

You can see that is not just a matter of recruiting the best project managers. That helps of course, as does developing the best project managers. Nor is it just having the best sponsors in place (we have covered that in some detail already), although having the best sponsors means that there should be a path for project managers to become sponsors.

It is not just about the provision of a ‘lean’ framework for these sponsors and project managers to work to – and by ‘lean’ I mean that every part should add value and not create unnecessary waste.

And it is not only about having a great project community – think way wider than just project managers in that community – or about having amazing education, mentoring, coaching or any means to raise skills.

It is about having all the above and anything else you can constructively think of providing to create an environment that provides and celebrates great project management skills.

To understand Challenge 5 further take a look at these three arguments:

  1. Project Management will always be a niche capability
    1. It’s the skill and experience of the individual project manager that makes or breaks a project;
    2. The need for success means that projects have to be driven by a ‘niche capable’ project manager;
    3. General managers will never have the time, the experience, the training, or indeed the skills, to manage any project beyond that which is simple in its goals;
    4. No executive gets promoted because of their project management skills; they get promoted for other reasons. Executives do not need project management skills but project sponsorship and product ownership skills.
  2. Project management is a core skill
    1. If you believe, as most evidence is now directing us, that we are moving to the ‘projectification’ of society, where work is less and less a line activity and delivered in the majority through projects, then it is clearly vital that all managers now understand the dynamics of projects and have basic skills and understanding of the process of project management to make the most out their organisation’s investments;
    2. All managers need to think in terms of controlled and carefully monitored delivery of outcomes, against a fixed budget and expectations of a quality outcome, that is as projects;
  3. Project management is both a niche capability and a core skill
    1. Project management methodology is a ‘core skill’ that all managers need to be aware of but, the actual project management activity is still a ‘niche capability’, for which additional training and experience are required to be successful;
    2. Managing a small, simple project is no big deal and most people can do it. Managing a large, complex project with substantial risk, diverse stakeholders, a geographically distributed team, multiple constraints and high stakes is best reserved for experts;
    3. The successful business of the twenty-first century recognises the value of niche project managers working under a supportive executive that has a foundation of project core skills.

I personally believe that there will always be a need for project managers, but what is also needed these days is a new management capability of successful project delivery. One man can’t do it all on his own (even Batman has Robin by his side).

All of which, I believe will make you reconsider the full project delivery capability within your own organisation, and then consider how well you and your organisation are supporting these project leaders.

To completely address Challenge 5 – invest in great project management skills – not just project managers – for as many people as possible to ensure that ‘projects’ are appropriately understood, and supported as a consequence.

We have now explored the five key challenges

  1. The challenge of investing in the right portfolio dashboard (getting a good and accurate view from the very top);
  2. The challenge of investing in real professional project sponsorship or executive leadership (project sponsors are from Venus if you remember);
  3. The challenge of investing at the C-level in a chief projects officer and, ideally, a PMO (added to the C-level);
  4. The challenge of investing in the means to know the true status of your strategic change/project investment (having good analysis and good reporting)
  5. The challenge of investing in professionalising the project capability and competence within your organisation (professionalise your project management).

It is now time to take stock, and to assess your own organisation’s position regarding these five challenges.

In the subsequent blogs we will cover five test points to apply against these 5 elements before moving on to describe five simple steps to move forward with all of the above in a controlled manner.

Tailwind Project Solutions was formed in 2014 to provide a bespoke approach to project leadership development. Owned by Director & CEO Alex Marson, the organisation works with large FTSE 250 clients including some of the biggest companies in the world in the Asset Management, Professional Services, Software, Automotive, Finance and Pharmaceutical industry.  The company has a team of world-class experts who provide a bespoke approach to the challenges that our clients have, and the company was formed because of a gap in the market for expertise which truly gets to the heart of the issues clients are facing – providing a robust, expert solution to change the way that companies run their projects.

At the time, the market was becoming flooded with training companies, providing a ‘sheep dip’ approach to project management, and the consensus was that This didn’t solve the real challenges that businesses and individuals are experiencing in this ever-increasing complex world of project management. The vision was to hand-pick and work with the very best consultants, trainers and coaches worldwide so that Tailwind could make a difference to their clients, to sit down with them, understand their pain points, what makes them tick, and what is driving their need for support.

These challenges being raised time and time again are in the project leadership space, from communication issues, not understanding stakeholder requirements or having the confidence to “push back”, lack of sponsorship support, working across different cultures, languages, levels of capability and complexity. We expect more from our project managers – we expect them to inspire, lead teams and be more confident.

Tailwind’s experience is vast, from providing interim resources in the project and programme management space, supporting the recruitment process, experiential workshops, coaching – from project managers through to executives, providing keynote speakers, implementing PPM Academies, PM Healthchecks and Leadership development. The approach is created often uniquely – to solve the real challenges of each of their individual clients.


Leading and Delivering the Best PMO for your Business

March 31, 2016

As a part of the PMI Australia Conference (Adelaide 30th and 31st May) where I will be delivering a keynote on ‘The Social Project Manager’ – I will also be leading a one day master class on 1st June on ‘Leading and Delivering the Best PMO for your Business’ at Flinders University in the CBD, Adelaide.

By adding this post-conference Masterclass to your registration, you get the chance to spend a whole day learning from one of the most experienced PMO leaders in the world.

Numbers are strictly limited for the Masterclass, so please make sure you book early to guarantee your spot.

  • For Conference delegates:  $400 (full-day).
  • For non-delegates:  $600 (full-day).

As a registered delegate, it is an easy 4 steps to add a Masterclass to your registration.  Go to the online form at

  1. tick the box “I am already registered”
  2. add your name
  3. select the Masterclass and
  4. make payment.

For further information about each Masterclass go to

I look forward to meeting you in May.


Plevin and Associates Pty Ltd

PO Box 54


South Australia


Tel. Nat. (08) 8379 8222

Tel. Int. +61 8 8379 8222

Fax. Nat. (08) 8379 8177

Fax. Int. +61 8 8379 8177


Project Branding: Using Marketing to Win the Hearts and Minds of Stakeholders

February 4, 2015

Extract from my book ‘Project Branding’ published by RMC Publications, Inc.


The project name is important in setting the tone and personality of the project, and this name can be a powerful marketing tool, or even a major part of the brand for a significant project. The name should reflect the overall goals and objectives of the project—what the project is about and what it’s meant to deliver. Over time, people will subconsciously start to link the name to a set of associations they make with the project.

Consider, for example, “Project Phoenix” (how many of those have you come across?)—a good enough name and one that is often selected to show the desire to resurrect or improve some system or other. But (yes, there is a “but” in this case) what happens when the project hits issues? Then the jokes about “burning up” or “going to ashes” or “this bird is dead” might come thick and fast, and the project name becomes tainted.

In short, the project name is a valuable aid to communications inside and outside the project team. So it’s worth taking the time to think carefully about a suitable name for the project. Make sure the name conveys the following:

  • The “big idea.” What lies at the heart of the project change?
  • The vision for what this project will accomplish. Where are we going? What will the outcome be?
  • The principles behind the project. What are the key features/characteristics that will be reflected in the project deliverables?
  • The personality of the project. How do you want the project to be perceived?

Typically a name falls into one of the following four types:

Descriptive: These are names that simply say what the company or project actually does. For example, “Move” was used to label an office move, saying all that needed to be said about what was happening.

Evocative: Names in this category suggest associations with the project or company, but they don’t try to describe it precisely. For example, “Advance” is a project name that evokes thoughts of progress, things getting better, and advantage.

Abstract: These names are unusual (in the context in which they’re being used) and therefore stand out from the crowd. They make no clear reference to the nature of the project. For example, “Blue” was a project name that came about because the supplier’s primary color for their marketing material was blue, but the name eventually came to stand for a brighter horizon/future

Acronym (or abbreviation): These are contractions of a title or phrase based on the first letters of each word. The end result should be a name that is easier to say and recall than the full version, but one that still clearly relates to the organization, project, or item. A simple example might be “RED” (Rapid Enterprise Deployment), a memorable acronym with a suggestion of importance and criticality.

Here are some other tips to consider when choosing a project name:

  • First, when you are brainstorming or collecting ideas for a project name, you will need to filter the suggestions. You will need to imagine the name in various potential moments—both positive and negative—of the project’s future. How will the name stand up at these potential points in time? Will the name work in all extremes?
  • Then, ask yourself if the name is politically correct, and not just in your mind. Remember here to consider the full spectrum of stakeholders, too: both those closely related to the project and those more widely associated with the project. In these days of multi-country, multi-cultural projects, just be careful what you end up with when choosing a project name. The clever acronym that you have constructed in Portuguese or English might well be just that at home—a clever acronym. But in another country, it might just mean or translate into something completely different.
  • Make sure your project name is easy to pronounce. If people can’t say it, then they won’t use it. And make sure it isn’t awkward. Don’t, for example, misspell a word to fit an acronym. You will get fed up with people telling you that you have spelled it incorrectly.

Now, you do need to think through your project name carefully, but don’t overthink it either. Too much can be made of a project or product name, but many great names start out with humble and less thought-out origins. In the biography Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson describes how Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak discussed many options for company names, including “Matrix,” “Personal Computers, Inc.,” and “Executek.” Jobs, however, had just arrived back from working on a fruit farm. He suggested “Apple” and the rest, as they say, is history.

On the other side of the marketing coin, Apple experienced some issues with the pre-Macintosh PC when it was named “Lisa” (allegedly after Jobs’s daughter). The official company line was that it stood for “Local Integrated System Architecture,” and the unofficial one was that it stood for “Lisa: Invented Stupid Acronym.”

There is a wonderful Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams that starts with the news that the company has run out of acronyms, and so they can’t start any more projects. They can’t create any new acronyms either, because that would then be a project, and they can’t start a new project because . . .they’ve run out of acronyms!

So don’t push that one too far. Be creative, but don’t constrain yourself by trying to be too clever or to force something out as an acronym.

Project Managers are from Mars and Project Sponsors are from Venus

February 28, 2014

‘We are unique individuals with unique experiences’ John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is a book written by an American author and relationship counsellor John Gray. It has sold more than 50 million copies (yes that is one or two more than my own best-selling book The Lazy Project Manager) and spent 121 weeks on the US bestseller list.

The book and its central metaphor have become a part of popular culture and so I found myself, as I thought about the ongoing Campaign for Real Project Sponsors that I began back in 2011, that maybe we could think of project managers and project sponsors in similar terms.

The book states that most of common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the genders, which the author exemplifies by means of its eponymous metaphor: that men and women are from distinct planets – men from Mars and women from Venus –- and that each gender is acclimated to its own planet’s society and customs, but not to those of the other.

Now it is possible that this comes in to play if say the project manager is a man and the project sponsor is a woman – as in the book Strategies for Project Sponsorship (Management Concepts Press) by Vicki James, Ron Rosenhead and myself – to aid the understanding in the book of the two inter-playing roles we (a suggestion from the lady from Venus, Vicki, actually) agreed to separate the roles by gender. But let’s not go down that path for now – let us assume that gender plays no part in this and that the two roles, the two people, are both from project ‘Planet’ (sorry maybe that was just a tad too corny but you get my meaning).

For project success many sources of authority[1] boldly declare that good project sponsorship is critical but sadly the reality of the situation is less than perfect. Often—very often—project sponsors will have received no training or support for their critical role. In Strategies for Project Sponsorship we confirmed that with 85% of organisations declaring that they ‘had sponsorship’ in place but 83% confirmed the worrying truth that they did nothing to support or train or guide these project sponsors.

Many speak of the ‘accidental project manager’ but the reality is that the current generation of project sponsors can also be considered the ‘accidental project sponsors’. Although they may not have any background in project management or project-based activity, having reached a senior level within their organisation based on other achievements, they have assumed or have been given that role. Remember that there is not currently any official body of knowledge for project sponsors to help them understand best project sponsorship practices.

And yet project sponsors don’t just need to support projects; good project sponsors also support the project manager and project team. It is said that a project is one small step for a project sponsor and a giant leap for the project manager. Wouldn’t we all feel so much better if we knew that the project sponsor’s one small step would ensure that the complementary giant leap would lead to a safe and secure final landing?

The project sponsor/project manager partnership is one that really needs to be a good partnership built on a relationship of trust and mutual objectives.

‘If I seek to fulfil my own needs at the expense of my partner, we are sure to experience unhappiness, resentment, and conflict. The secret of forming a successful relationship is for both partners to win’ John Gray

Project sponsorship is not about an ‘either/or’ situation but a ‘win/win’ for both the project sponsor and the project manager, it is, after all, about the project and therefore about the business benefit.

If we look at the flipside of project success we can see this inter-connection and the consequences of getting it wrong:

Project Failure

This is a list of top project failure issues and clearly the lack of good project sponsorship can contribute to the unrealistic goals, the poor alignment, lack of resources and lack of leadership – in this case the project manager from Mars has one heck of a gaping hole to try and fill. Equally with a lack of good project management this contributes another vacuum of leadership, team engagement issues and poor risk management – in this case the project sponsor from Venus has no hope of dealing with the consequential impact.

In the book we found that the best of project sponsors operated in a very balanced way, being involved in the project, being objective about the project, being supportive of the project and project manager, and being reactive to project needs. The project manager clearly needs to be as equally balanced.

We also found that the best project managers understood what a good project sponsor should do and how they, as project managers, needed to behave within the reality of the partnership that they had, and with the project sponsor that they were ‘given’. Like the saying goes ‘you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives’ it has to be appreciated that the same is true of project sponsors.

Each project sponsor (and each project manager) will be different, will be imperfect, will have strengths and weaknesses but if the combined relationship of the two roles, the two people, both understand each other’s responsibilities and capabilities then the best balance possible can be achieved for an effective and positive relationship (and subsequent project success).

‘Relationships thrive when communication reflects a ready acceptance and respect of people’s innate differences’ John Gray

If you work in an organisation that needs to develop your project sponsors from Venus (and maybe also your project managers from Mars) then maybe check out the book, or contact me to find out how I can help. And spread the word, we do really need everyone to join the Campaign for Real Project Sponsors; there is a lot (a lot) of work to be done.

As an example, the latest PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge[2] (Edition 5) is a valuable and extensive document of reference with 185,230 words of wisdom crammed inside. Sadly of those words only 159 refer to project sponsorship at all, I’ll raise it to 179 words by generously including the 20 words in the glossary that refer to ‘organisational sponsorship’ – I am being generous as it mentions project sponsorship as one word ‘sponsor’s’ (and Project Sponsor is not in the glossary as a term). Anyway that means this most widely referenced body of knowledge has a mere 0.01% content related to the ‘most important person in the project…’[3]

OK I hear what you are saying, Peter that is the ‘Project Management’ body of knowledge so don’t be so harsh. Well maybe I might take the point (actually I wouldn’t, at the very least we should see a whole lot more about how the project manager needs to interact with the project sponsor but for the sake of this particular argument …) so let’s move across to the perspective of the organisation.

The OPM3 / Organizational Project Management Maturity Model[4] looks at the overall maturity of project based activity inside and organisation so there is no escaping the project sponsor on this one is there?

Well it seems that the answer to that question is surprisingly a big fat ‘Yes’.

Out of the 151 Self-Assessment Measures only 1 is related in any way to project sponsorship; ‘Are the sponsor and other stakeholders involved in setting a direction for the project that is in the best interest of all stakeholders?’

At least it is question number 1 on the list.

And of the 600 Best Practice measurements only 3 reference project sponsorship, numbers 1440, 1450 and 5460.

See what I mean? Still don’t think we have a problem?

This needs to be taken seriously and changes need to happen, fast.

There is some fantastic work going on with and for project managers, we have landed on Mars and we are setting up home and making it look dammed good; but the balance is all on that side. Venus, on the other hand is pretty much undeveloped and in need of a real make-over.


You can find out more at and you can also join the LinkedIn group – Projects Sponsors, to continue the discussion. Or contact me at

‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship is a unique blend of practical, step-by-step tools; hard-won wisdom from the PM trenches; and solid, research-based recommendations. As a PM author reading this book, I found myself in awe of how nimbly the authors weaved together seemingly disparate elements: here citing research findings, there providing war stories or case study examples, and finally pivoting to morph these into powerful, ready-to-use tools. As someone who’s both managed projects and trained project managers for more than three decades, I know this for certain: This book should be in every project manager’s tool kit and in every project sponsor’s briefcase’ Michael Greer

Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 20 countries and with new books out including ‘The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell’, ‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship’, ‘Leading Successful PMOs’, and ‘The Thirty-Six Stratagems: A Modern Interpretation of a Strategy Classic’ – with a number of other book projects currently underway.

He has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’ and he also acts as an independent consultant working with some of the major organizations in the world coaching executive sponsors, PMO leaders and project managers.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

More information can be found at and  – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

  • Keynote
  • Presentations and Lectures
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Inspirational Workshops
  • Training
  • Coaching
  • Authoring

[1] Check out Project Management Institute, Inc. Pulse of the Profession™, March 2013 and CHAOS Manifesto: The Year of the Executive Sponsor (Standish) 2012 and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC: Insights and Trends: Current Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Practices 2012 – The third global survey on the current state of project management as just a few.

[2]. The PMBOK® Guide—Fifth Edition is the preeminent global standard for project management from PMI. It provides project managers with the fundamental practices needed to achieve organizational results and excellence in the practice of project management.

[3] One of PMI’s foundational standards, the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) – Third Edition is a guide to achieving organizational project maturity.


Sexy Project Management

February 1, 2014

(50 Shades of Project Management that is anything but grey!)

At a recent major conference for project managers, after the opening keynote speech, the audience was invited to ask questions of the renowned ambassador for the project management profession. One question that somewhat took the speaker aback was ‘when will project management be sexy?’

A great question I felt and one that the speaker responded to reasonably well (eventually, after the initial shock…) but a question that has made me think about the concept of ‘sexy project management’ for some time since that particular event.


What do we mean, in this context, by ‘sexy’? Well the dictionary offers us three possibilities:

1. Concerned predominantly or excessively with sex; risqué: a sexy novel

2. Sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality: the sexiest presenter at the conference

3. Excitingly appealing; glamorous: a sexy new car

I think we can leave options 1 and 2 alone, of course there must be some real sexy project managers out there and I am sure one or two of them partake of the whole ‘physical’ stuff (perhaps even occasionally with another project manager and perhaps even without the safety aid of a WBS) but for the purpose of this conversation I am going with option 3 ‘Excitingly appealing; glamorous’.

Many (way too many) people think of project management as dull and worthy, and boring and necessary, and as ‘well someone has to do it I guess but I’m glad it is not me’.

An example of this can be seen with a simple experiment – find a project manager and ask them two questions, the rule being they must answer fast with their first thought, the first thing that comes to mind. Do that and it will most likely go something like this:

‘What are you?

‘A project manager’

‘What do you do?’

‘I… er … manage projects’

And there you have it – explaining project management in an attractive way is not so simple, for any of us – experienced project managers or would be project managers.

Probably not overly scientific but there was a survey[1] of 1.000 Australians asking to name the top ‘sexy’ professions and this is what they came up with:

5 sexiest professions for men are.

  • Soldier
  • Emergency Service Personnel
  • Tradesmen/Construction Worker
  • Sportsmen
  • Doctor

5 sexiest professions for women are:

  • Sport/Recreation
  • Medical Worker
  • Hospitality/Tourist
  • Student
  • Lawyer

Seriously! We are less attractive than lawyers!

There are plenty of other similar surveys (mainly from dating sites I note with interest – in this case maybe you should not put ‘project manager’ down if you are lonely and single.

But I digress; back to the important question of ‘How do we make project management sexy?’

Perhaps we can consider those who are entering our ‘profession’ these days what is it that attracts them to this job? I mean there must be some reason that these people decide not to be soldiers, lawyers, doctors etc and instead choose to be project managers (or at least study to be project managers).

I took the liberty to check out a number of UK Universities who were offering a project management degree. What did they say to attract people to their courses, and to project management?

Sadly what I found was that they said very little that gave any indication that project management was an exciting, energising, fun and important job. Here are a few examples:

‘The MSc Project Management is designed for those who wish to develop their project management skills and abilities’

‘Project management is now a mainstream management discipline in many organisations. This course provides a solid grounding in the principles and practice of project management with the overall aim of increasing your ability to contribute to business effectiveness’

‘It is designed to meet the increasing demand for professional project managers, both nationally and internationally, who are able to provide the increasingly sophisticated management required to meet the challenges of providing and managing projects across a broad spectrum of organisations’

‘The course focuses on developing skills for careers in project management including both theory and applied aspects, and is mapped against key professional body competencies. The knowledge, understanding and skills can be applied to a range of environments that bring together resources, skills, technology and ideas to realise benefits or achieve objectives, operating within the multiple project constraints of cost, scope, time and quality requirements’

Nothing particularly thrilling in these ones, worthy statements all of them, but how do they use this to attract those future project managers?

What about the thoughts on project management itself?

‘Project management is about how you deliver a defined set of changes at the right time, the right cost and the right quality’

‘Project Management is the application of appropriate management strategies in order to effectively coordinate the realisation of complex and dynamic projects. The applied skills and competencies of a project manager are necessary for the successful completion of large and complex projects, particularly within the ever-changing marketplace’

‘Project management is about managing the technical, cultural, political and financial aspects inherent in all projects’

‘In every business, and in every industry, there is a need for effective project management’

 ‘A successful project manager balances the conflicting goals of resource usage, quality of product, time to market and customer satisfaction.  The programme is intended to provide the student with the technical and process skills to undertake the role of a project manager in the modern business environment’

OK, I am a project manager and know how great this job can be but for goodness sake even I am yawning at this point. There must be something more engaging to say about project management surely?

‘In the twenty-first century, the dynamic and challenging world of business has encouraged the increasing use of project management across the sectors’


‘Organisations, businesses and governments are more aware than ever of the strategic importance of effective project management’

Also true.

‘Offer a foundation of essential management skills required to align and cascade corporate strategy throughout the organisation’

And this can’t be argued with either.

‘The line between success and failure in any project is a lot of pressure on any manager’s shoulders. Empowering yourself with project management skills and business acumen will ensure you can be a successful, dynamic leader’

But for goodness sake you wise and clever educational leaders find something more interesting to say, something (dare I say it) ‘sexy’ to say to attract the very best of the best to the courses you offer.

Now I freely admit this was a fast and dirty check on Universities websites so please if you head up such a course and you have something really attractive, exciting, energising and ‘sexy’ that you do say about project management please do let me know I would be delighted to read it.

Moving away from the universities what about the project organisations we all know and love?

PMI, when speaking of the PMP[2] states ‘The PMP recognizes demonstrated competence in leading and directing project teams. If you’re an experienced project manager looking to solidify your skills, stand out to employers and maximize your earning potential, the PMP credential is the right choice for you’

Axelos when referring to the PRINCE2[3] qualification (foundation) states ‘The purpose of the foundation qualification is to confirm you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the PRINCE2 method to be able to work effectively with, or as a member of, a project management team working within an environment supporting PRINCE2’

And APM, when describing the RPP[4], state ‘APM Registered Project Professional (RPP) is a pan-sector standard for those able to demonstrate the capabilities of a responsible leader, who have the ability to manage a complex project and use appropriate tools, processes and techniques’

Again, all oh so worthy and technically accurate, but so what?

Let me give an example of what I am talking about. My son is taking driving lessons to learn to be able to drive on his own eventually. Now the DVLA  describes the mandatory practical test (there is a theory component as well) as ‘The practical driving test is designed to see if you – can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions and know the Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability’

Now why does my son what to take this test? Why does he want to be a qualified driver? Certainly not so that he ‘knows the Highway Code’ or so that he is able to ‘drive safely in different road and traffic conditions’. Nor is it because he is desperate to be able to parallel park, reverse around a corner or complete a ‘three point turn’ (as I still call it).

All of this is, of course, important but this is only a means to an end.

He wants ‘Freedom’. He wants to escape us, his parents. He wants to be able to visit his girlfriend without catching two buses, especially when it is cold and raining. He wants to be able to take his mates out and about town. He wants to be able to stay out later. He wants a whole lot more that the technical capability of being able to safely control a mechanised object. If there was no end-result of ‘Freedom’ then he wouldn’t have bothered. ‘Freedom’ and ‘Independence’ are the ‘sexy’ factors that make him want to get out there and take the driving lessons, to read the Highway Code, to take practice theory tests, and to revise and practice ready for that all important test date.

And so it should be with project management.

That one question that took that unsuspecting speaker aback has an answer already.

‘When will project management be sexy?’

Now! It is already.

We just need to find the words to describe it in the right way and, you know what, those students currently studying for their degree in project management know that it is ‘sexy’ already.

Feels good doesn’t it?

[1] April 2013

[2] Project Management Professional

[3] Projects IN Controlled Environments

[4] Registered Project Professional