Integrated Teaching Approach for Developing Project Management Competences

SECOND EDITION                                                            

Ana Skledar Matijevića, Zlatko  Barilovića, Igor Vrečkob,a

a Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management, Zaprešić, Croatia

bUniversity of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business, Institute for Project Management, Maribor, Slovenia


Educating project managers includes developing project management competences, but also other supporting skills, such as foreign languages, namely English, the lingua franca of international business. This resulted in cooperation between teachers of English and Project Management who developed an integrated approach to teaching and learning English and project management, which is successfully being implemented at the “B. A. Krčelić“ College of Business and Management in Zaprešić, Croatia, that cooperates with the Croatian Association for Project Management (CAPM). The students are offered a double benefit – they learn a foreign language and project management at the same time. This approach to teaching is based on teaching materials created on the basis of IPMA ICB, i. e. ICB is used as authentic material for learning English, and has been methodologically adapted for the needs of teaching and learning specific PM-related terminology. The “side-effect“ is learning about PM competences, which helps students prepare for IPMA certification exam. So far, this approach and the textbook resulting from it, which will be presented in detail, have had good results.

Keywords: project management, English for Specific Purposes, education of project managers, ICB, integrated teaching approach 

1. Introduction

Project managers do not only need knowledge and experience from the field which is the subject of the project, but also the knowledge and experience connected with the project implementation processes, namely the field of project management (Skledar Matijević et al, 2012). Since the scope of work on projects of various sizes and purposes has been rapidly increasing over the last two decades (according to the World Bank (2008) 21% of the world’s GDP comes from investment projects) the issue of developing appropriate project competences attracts more attention.

According to Jurina (2009:98), competences include all the skills, knowledge, attitudes, personal qualities and organizational behaviour important for working successfully. The same author considers that the competence model consists of those competences that all the employees should have and specific competences for an actual job or function. A competent person is considered to be someone qualified to perform a job (Huić et al 2010).

Since all jobs require certain competences, the importance of developing specific project management competences for working on projects has been recognized by many authors, such as Keegan and Turner (2003), Crawford (2003), Gareis and Huemann (2003), Omazić and Baljkas (2005), Hauc (2007), Vrečko and Barilović (2009 and 2010), Hauc et al. (2011).

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) as leading project management organizations describe in their basic documents the competences all individuals included in the project management process should possess. These competences are precisely what their certification programmes are based upon, which are used to confirm that someone has enough knowledge and experience necessary for efficiently participating in a project in a certain role.

To ensure a successful implementation of projects, the individuals who participate in various roles in the development and implementation of projects must meet several conditions. On the one hand, they should develop an appropriate personal culture and attitude towards the project work, and on the other hand they should have quality project management knowledge and experience (Hauc et al., 2011). They should also have the necessary supporting skills, such as communication skills for participating in international and mulicultural project teams and knowledge of English, as it is the lingua franca of international business.


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Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. This paper was originally presented at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia and included in the Congress Proceedings, October 2013.; It is republished here with permission or the authors and congress organizers. 

About the Authors

flag-zagreb-croatiapmwj18-jan2014-matijevic-PHOTO1 MATIJEVICAna Skledar Matijević, PhD

Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management

Zaprešić, Croatia

Ana Skledar Matijević was born in 1976 in Slovenia. She graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2000 in English and Spanish Languages and Literature. She earned her Ph. D. in literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2007 and holds a D level IPMA certificate. She has been teaching English for specific purposes (ESP) at the Baltazar Adam Krčelić Accredited College of Business and Management since 2001, with special emphasis on English for Project Management, Financial Management and Communications Management. She publishes papers in the area of ELT and ESP, language and literature and is the author of one ESP textbook. Areas of interest: interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to teaching ESP. Ana Skledar Matijević can be contacted at [email protected].

flag-zagreb-croatiapmwj18-jan2014-matijevic-PHOTO2 BARILOVICZlatko Barilović

Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management

Zaprešić, Croatia

Zlatko Barilović was born in 1984 in Zagreb.  He holds a graduate specialist degree (MA) in Marketing from the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, Croatia. Prior to that he graduated from teh Specialist Graduate Professional Study of Project Management at the Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management in Zaprešić, Croatia, which was a continuation of his undergaduate studies in Business and Management (major Cultural Management).  Currently he is attending a doctoral study in Management at the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, Croatia.  He is a member of International project management association (IPMA) and a member of the Presidentian Board of the Coratian Association for Project Management (CAPM). At the Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management he teaches Basicds of Management, Project Management 1 and 2, and Planning, preparing and starting the project – practicum. He has written over 20 scientific and professional papers, and has lead several projects for the Baltazar Adam Krčelić College of Business and Management. He was the editor of two project management books. Zlatko Barilović can be contacted at [email protected]. 

flag-zagreb-croatiaigor-vreckoIgor Vrečko, PhD

University of Maribor

Maribor, Slovenia

Igor Vrečko, 1975, Slovenian, holds a Ph. D. in Economic and Business. He is an Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Maribor – Faculty of Economics and Business. His research focuses primarily on project management and integration of project management with strategic crisis management as well as innovation management. He has wide practical experience gained through consultancy projects in many domestic and foreign companies. He has performed numerous invited lectures and managed workshops in different organizations. He is also the director of IPMA certification process for Slovenia, the vice president of Slovenian Project Management Association, an official assessor of national profession qualification project manager, an assessor of research and developing projects under the Public Agency of Republic of Slovenia for entrepreneurship and foreign investments and an assessor in national commission for innovations. Igor Vrečko can be contacted at [email protected].