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On the subject of project management for city managers

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Ref: https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/pmwj60-Jul2017-Podger-city-management-as-a-project-featured-paper.pdf

15 August 2017

Dear David,

I appreciate responses to my paper on city management at a project. I am delighted by the request of Project Management Review (PMR), State Grid Corporation of China, to have the paper translated into Chinese. I am also pleased by positive responses from my home-base Indonesia and from Nepal.

I received a kind response from my guru of 49 1/2 years, Alan Stretton, who challenged me on my lack of reference to program and portfolio management, far more directly relevant to city management than project management. He is right.

And so I admit I was not really attempting to create an Urban Management Body of Knowledge, rather I was striving to find what urban leaders can learn from project management. I maintain the biggest difference is the placing of stakeholder management where PMBoK places it last but any elected mayor must place first. But an equally great difference is that project managers serve program and portfolio managers. And program and portfolio managers serve city managers. My UMBoK served as a metaphor for city management, but city management is far richer and complex than that.

I was reminded by an expert of medical projects that project management has developed an awesome jargon that we find when we delve into the chatter of blogs and tweets on project management. The jargon can be a formidable barrier to any politician tempting to learn to be a better leader.

I remain convinced that city management can learn much from project management. There is still much homework to be done but there are many who can do it. And I will be pleased to hear more from other people like me who make this their project.

All the best,

Owen Podger
Bali, Indonesia