Episode 284: Project Management as a Career - The Wideman Education Foundation (Free)
Are you an accidental project manager? You know, someone who was thrust into the project management role without much fanfare, introduction or even education? Well… you are not alone. It happened to you, it happened to me and it continues to happen to thousands of other project managers throughout the world.
Wouldn’t it be great, if there were organizations out there who introduced young people to the concepts and approaches of project management? There are! And that’s good news for the future of our profession.
Joan Vincent (www.linkedin.com/pub/joan-vincent/4/902/531) is President of the Wideman Education Foundation (www.widemaneducationfoundation.org) whose goal is to promote sound project management principles and skills, especially among young people.
As part of this the Wideman Education Foundation is dedicated to attracting young individuals into the project management profession and helping them develop the organizational and leadership skills they will need to succeed in today’s job market. Through workshops and competitions the foundation fosters essential, basic, practical skills like preparation, planning, teamwork, communication, and delivering presentations.
It’s all about getting the next generation of project managers interested in the profession.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode # 284. This is the Project Management Podcast™ at www.project-management-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner.
Are you an accidental project manager? You know someone who has thrust into the project management role without much fanfare introduction or even education? Well, you're not alone. It happened to you. It happened to me and it continues to happen to thousands of other project managers throughout the world.
Well, wouldn’t it be great if there were organizations out there who introduce the young people to the concepts and approaches of project management? There are and that's good news for the future of our profession.
Joan Vincent is President of the Wideman Education Foundation whose goal is to promote sound project management principles and skills especially among young people. As part of this, the Wideman Education Foundation is dedicated to attracting young individuals into the project management profession and helping them develop the organizational and leadership skills they will need to succeed in today's job market.
Through workshops and competitions, the foundation fosters essential basic and practical skills like preparation, planning, team work, communication and delivering presentations. It's all about getting the next generation of project managers interested in the profession.
And now, just as Whitney Houston used to sing: I believe young people are our future. Teach them well and let them lead those projects. Enjoy the interview.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Joan Vincent, President of the Wideman Education Foundation.
Cornelius Fichtner:Hello, Joan and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™!
Joan Vincent: Thank you! It's nice to be here.
Cornelius Fichtner: So why are project management skills important for today's and tomorrow's workforce?
Joan Vincent: Project management skills are able to travel and our work place is a living thing in my opinion. It grows and it moves and it evolves and we're always trying to catch up with it.
The skills for project management are able to do that smoothly. Project managers have to keep in front of the waves. So project managers have to be current. They have to know what they're doing. They have to up to date. Technically, they have to be up to date in terms of the expectations and the requirements of their work.
Our work place is more and more competitive as we all know. So those men and women with project management skills will be looked for. In other words, companies will be seeking out people with project management skills because we can attend to circumstances that are unexpected. And not only can we attend through them but we enjoy a good challenge.
Cornelius Fichtner: So what you're basically saying is that all our listeners here who have project management skills will be employed for life?
Joan Vincent: Well, I'd like to be able to say that but I'm not about to say that. However, they have a very good chance of finding employment, finding a new project. If they're between projects, the key skill is persuasion because project management can be applied in almost any industry, any industry! The job of the project manager that's looking to shift industries is to be able to persuade their new employer that in fact, their skills can be applied.
Cornelius Fichtner: You are the President of the Wideman Education Foundation and we will be focusing on what the foundation is and does. So in line with my opening question here: How does the Wideman Education Foundation help with project management skills in the workforce?
Joan Vincent: We encourage and support men and women, young men and women and on older men and women if necessary to learn about project management skills through our workshops and our competitions. Leadership, team work, communication, risk management, time management, planning, all of those things are critical in our competitive work place.
Cornelius Fichtner: And what would you say that our listeners are going to get out of our discussion here today? What will they learn for themselves, for their careers?
Joan Vincent: I'd like the listeners to take away 3 concepts. First would be awareness, to be aware of opportunities for young men and women to learn the project management skills but also how to implement them. Implementation is the key. Any kind of skill or plan just on a piece of paper is dead. In order to bring it to life and make it useful, it needs to be implemented.
The second is trends. Rapid growth in project management, levels of certification, job availabilities globally, particularly the variety of industries that utilize both project management skills. There is a wonderful resource on the PMI website and your listeners may or may not be aware of it. But it's called 'Pulse of the Profession' and it's on the www.pmi.com website and that gives you statistics and analyses and all sorts of very, very good and accurate and up to date information. I recommend it.
And the third point would be around career tips. Project managers need to consider a lot of things. But one of the most important areas of consideration is the human environment in which they will work. Project managers have to deal with teams and temperaments and personalities and communication levels and world views and cultural sophistication. A word about cultural sophistication, we work all over the world. Bringing North American culture to other places in the world sometimes, it doesn’t work and how do you overcome that and how do you deal with it ethically? How do you deal with it in terms of your personal view? It's very, very important the cultural aspects of the work.
Levels of education when we're dealing with people, different levels of education and experience. So once we get a handle on those kinds of issues so wherever we are in the world, whatever the work we're doing or managing, our career will be a little smoother.
Cornelius Fichtner: Much of the rest of the interview, we're going to talk about what the Wideman Education Foundation does. So let's talk a little bit about the basics here. Please tell us about the 'who', the 'why', the 'when' and the 'how' of the foundation.
Joan Vincent: Wideman Education Foundation is an independent charitable organization and it was founded by Max Wideman and bankrolls by the proceeds from his book that was published by PMI International. And we started that work in 2007 and we haven’t stopped.
Our workshops and competitions are designed not only to educate but to excite, to get people really revved up for the occupation. For example, one of workshops and we called it "Step up to opportunity". It was for high school students, grades 11 and 12 and we gathered about 65 of these students at the SFU Surrey Campus to learn about an experience, the impact of one of our core tools of project management which is a work breakdown structure and its implementation to realize how important strategic communication is and to learn about trends and opportunities in a project management field.
The students loved it. They really got into it and some of the evaluations when they are finished were: "It was a fantastic event" and again a second quote "I enjoyed the speakers as it provided a lot of useful information of project management and its application in the real world." We know these high school students will take this experience with them as they move forward in their lives and in their careers. Many of these skills can be used in everyday life. It doesn’t even have to be used on a project.
So our key event is our annual Wideman competition and we hold that at the SFU Surrey Campus. Currently, it includes students from SFU and University of British Columbia. We are in the process of expanding the number of institutions involved. We want to shake it up a little bit and more competition. The more competition, the better.
Cornelius Fichtner: That's a great segway because I was just going to ask you about the educational competitions. The purpose of the Wideman Education Foundation is described as "To advance education by providing workshops and educational competitions to students and practitioners on the theory and practice of project management principles and skills." So we have the workshops and we have the educational competitions.
What's the process, the requirements, the rewards that people get out of it?
Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.