PMI 2014 Research and Education Conference; 27 – 29 July 2014, Portland, OR, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
I was able to attend the 2014 PMI Research and Education Conference this year. This is a much better conference when compared to the Global Conference. The research conference keynote speakers are project management professions with interesting, project oriented presentations and instead the management gurus of the speaking circuit at the typical Global Conference. The presentations do not have the glitz that can compare with the consultants of the Global conference but the presentations typically have more project management substance.
The GAC (PMI College Accreditation) invited Universities with Project Management degrees to discuss issues related to accreditation. The new PMI Vice President for Education and Research kicked of the meeting. As a new hire, he said he had no expertise in project management and then gave a speech proving him his point. Overall, a good session.
There were a couple of things that struck me at the conference. I listened to several conversations on the need for a theory of project management. Interesting discussion but it did not resonant to me as a need for our profession. I asks at a panel discussion on something else “do we ned a theory of project management” and the consensus of this panel was no. I will be interested to see if this discussion develops traction.
Jack Meredith, author of lots of project management books, was the headliner on an unusual session Standing on the Shoulders of Giant”. Jack deserves recognition for his contribution and Erik Larson, another prolific author, interviewed Jack in a setting that gave the impression of a discussion in your living room. Jack met expectations. He reminded me of my grandfather, he had no political agenda and just said what he thought, so of it very interesting. If you can find a transcript, it would be worth listening to.
During the session I asked; “what were the two or three research finding of the past 20 years (this was a research conference) that would impact project management”? Jack thought a minute and then said; “I will pass on that question.” I wonder if he was avoiding the question because he didn’t want to hurt anyone feelings. That had not been the case so far. A small group discussion at our table concluded that Dr. Meredith did not believe that there was any significant research finding in the past 20 years that significantly impacted the management of projects. Think about the implications of that thought.
Here is a list of research projects recently funded by PMI:
a Theoretically Sound Baseline for Expert Judgment in Project Management
Science and Its Effects on Organizational Structure and Program Management
Dorothy Kirkman, Kevin Wooten, Alix Valenti
capital project front-end: a design commons approach
Nuno Gil, Rehema Msulwa
Agility: Adapting Agile Principles to Large Projects in Large
Yvan Petit, Brian Hobbs
Management as a Dynamic Collaborative Social Practice: Collaborative
Roula Michaelides, Jeanne Dorle, Elena Antonacopoulou
engagement strategies during the construction phase of controversial projects
I also had a hallway discuss with Hans Georg Gemunden, editor of the Project Management Journal. PMI has struggled to increase the quality of the Project Management Journal. I mentioned that I often blogged a translation of articles from the PMJ for the typical project manager. (most articles are unreadable and only a few are worth going through the pain)
I was surprised to find that they understood the quality of articles did not meet their own standards. They were working hard to increase the quality. I look forward to seeing their new approach.
All in all, it was a good conference.
Next blog: I will presenting at the PMI Chapter in Charlotte in January and will provide a summary here.