by Staff Reporter on 19/11/12 at 4:00 pm
Project management is the one discipline that permeates every facet of life. In fact, some scholars go as far as saying that project management skill is what differentiates poor from rich countries and that project management is the way forward in challenging economic times.
The ability to organise, run matters in the most optimum sequence of events and according to optimum time lines and allocate enough resources without any waste is a skill few people completely master. “Countries and companies are run through a collection of projects,” says Wessel Pieters from the Association for Project Management of South Africa (APMSA). “In its quest for improving project management skill and awareness in South Africa, APMSA is strengthening ties with the International Project Management Association (IPMA).” The IPMA, having been started in 1965, is continuously striving to contribute toward project management and instill the IPMA values in all of its 56 member countries.
“IPMA is not monolithic,” says Nuno Ponces de Carvalho, vice president, membership and young crew, “we want each country to operate in its own culture and mannerisms. Our offering is certification and provision of guidelines and processes”. IPMA has developed an assessment model, IPMA Delta, which encompasses a comprehensive project management assessment for the entire organisation from a 360 ° perspective. It is 100% independent and lends credibility to certified organisations, increasing the competitive edge. IPMA Delta assesses the entire organisation, its individuals and projects and certifies organisational project management competence, ensuring that each member with IPMA certification globally will operate at a standardised level. “IPMA Delta has become the benchmark for project management certification,” states Ponces de Carvalho.
The importance of project management is highlighted by the launch of a new ISO code, ISO 21500:2012, which is setting standards for project management. “Quality standards are normally seen as part of bureaucracy,” warns Ponces de Carvalho. “It is good to set standards, but it is important to get companies to buy in. IPMA will have liaison members conducting ISO certification”.
The role of APMSA in the launch of the new ISO code will be to ensure that the relevant skill is available in the market for companies to be ISO compliant and to facilitate relationships. The involvement of APMSA will spread the implementation of good practices, while IPMA certification as well as ISO 21500:2012 certification will lead to recognition of project management skills by peers and clients. “Obtaining certification is not just done through a written exam,” confirms Pieters, “experience and attitudes are also taken into account. Certification rests on the individuals involved in the project; therefore project managers must not delegate their professional development. The responsibility to belong to a professional association lies with everybody involved in project management, especially as academic institutions in South Africa do not give enough attention to project management”.
According to Francois Roos, chairman of APMSA, being ISO 17024 compliant – which is the standard for certification bodies – APMSA has a good understanding of what is required to be ISO 21500 compliant. Any type of organisation or project can be ISO 21500:2012 certified, irrespective of complexity, size or duration.
ISO 21500:2012 provides concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management and IPMA or APMSA certification certifies the individuals at four different levels to assure customers of skill and competency levels. “Certification needs more recognition in South Africa. For instance, insurances should give concessions on projects run by certified project managers,” concludes Roos. “The more benefits there are to certification, the more people will strive towards it and the faster the level of professionalism in project management in South Africa will rise. With the strong relationships between APMSA and IPMA, we have access to an abundance of knowledge and expertise that we can share with all members”.
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