PMI-Montréal project management blog

Are All Project Processes Created Equal?

Author : Aliki Courmanopoulos


The time difference is now 12 hours. I’m as far from home as I can possibly be, and yet people from home still find me, thanks to the PMI community.

I’m in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, just as PMI-Montreal member and 2016 Symposium speaker James Issam Mengad moves here with Adidas to continue his journey in the company to understand and work with his Asian counterparts in operations. Three years ago, he moved from Montreal to Nuremberg, Germany to work for Adidas and implement a project management framework for the company. The goal of this project was to provide templates and tools so that each department would be more in control of the project process by using best practices of the PMBOK and so that project progress could be more easily followed. The success of the project made users understand that not all projects use all knowledge areas, but that streamlining a process through best practices is more efficient when you know how to pick the right ones.

His presentation from the Symposium can be found online here.


Aliki and James Issam Mengad, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


Coincidentally, this is the same subject I am discussing with the PM community here in Ho Chi Minh.

As I was planning my time in South East Asia this past March, I was invited by my contact on the prospective PMI chapter steering committee and PMI Master Class graduate, Chau Trieu Nguyen Si, to present how project management improves lives in a discussion with their community.

The lights of shopping streets, restaurants, bars and sky rises are reminiscent of other Asian cities I have visited these past few weeks, but the PM community itself is unique. Not yet a chartered chapter, the Cong Dong PMP community boasts more than 2 000 online followers, boding well for the day the paperwork clears and they can become PMI-Vietnam.

Since 2012, Chau tells me that there is a growing trend on the job market for PMP certification, listed as either required or preferred on many project management job descriptions in Vietnam.

Aliki and Chau Trieu Nguyen Si, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

I met with 10 of the Cong Dong PMP community in the Workshop Cafe conference room where I led a conversation about simplifying project management processes in order to attract new members. By discussing how we use project management even outside of a professional context, we come to understand how methodology flexibility can improve our efficiency and confidence in everyday projects; wedding planning, travel, running a marathon, just a few examples from the group. It is not necessary to use every knowledge area for a project to be successful, but it is the expertise of the Project Manager to pick the right ones according to the project’s needs.

Once you have identified the necessary processes, what comes next?


Cong Dong PMP discussion participants, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


There is a worldwide consensus I can attest to at this point on my travels. After 13 countries and 14 PM communities, communications leads in terms of important skills and processes that a successful Project Manager must master. From La Paz to Ho Chi Minh, if a Project Manager cannot communicate the goal of a project or process, their team is less likely to follow through with the correct information.

I used to be accused of asking “why” too much. But it was because I wanted to deliver the correct information and be efficient at my job, and I could only do so if I understood the context for the information. Specifically, where is this information going? Bonus was that when I understood the goal of furnishing the information requested, I felt more involved in the success of the project, could prepare better for follow up questions and felt more confident that what I was providing was exactly what was being requested. If someone asked me how much a particular project cost, it was essential for me to understand whether this was for a post-mortem or for an analogous estimate.  One has a straightforward answer, the other comes with a lessons learned.

To successfully streamline your processes, your team should understand the goal of the information required to ensure their buy in.

As more industries recognize the importance of project management expertise and best practices, so changes the perception of what a Project Manager does in their day to day. The image of the stiff and serious PM in front of an excel spreadsheet is being replaced by the reality of dynamic and personable professionals who motivate through positive influence and practice servant leadership. The Cong Dong PMP group made a list of words we associate with a Project Manager, they include: empathetic, flexible, organized, adaptable, positive, trustworthy, communicative.

As coworking spaces and the toppling of hierarchical teams becomes increasingly popular, even the term Manager starts to seem out of date. Project Communicator is closer to the reality for many current professionals working, whether it be in engineering, IT, or marketing. Their expertise lies in their ability to champion a project and communicate the appropriate framework to apply in a given context.

Communications and Stakeholder Management were the top two knowledge areas I used when planning my trip and I attribute my project launch success to having successfully navigated the relationships and hierarchies involved. Read more about my process here: How I project managed my way out of the office.

By adapting and streamlining project management processes to particular context, we can successfully demonstrate how methodologies can be tailored to different organisations and different project needs. Communicating the flexibility of project management is key to sharing knowledge and attracting people to the professional.

What techniques do you use to communicate the importance of a chosen project management processes to your team?


About Aliki en route

Around the globe, everyday, project managers are making the world a better place by bringing complex projects to life. These individuals use their skills to promote change and improve the lives of countless people. I am backpacking around the world, exploring projects and people, whose passion for these methodologies is creating change through innovation. If you've ever wondered what Project Management is really about, or considered how your skills as a project manager could be used to make a difference, follow me on my trip around the world.


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