Interview with Nieto-Rodriguez


Diversity Can Be an Asset

Interview with Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Past Chairman, Project Management Institute
Visiting Professor, Duke University, USA

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)

Journalist’s Introduction

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez (www.antonionietorodriguez.com) is a visiting Professor of Duke University’s Corporate Education and IE Business School, and past Chairman of the Project Management Institute (PMI). He is the author of “The Focused Organization” (Taylor & Francis) and currently working on his next book, “The Project Revolution” (LID), that will be published early 2019.

Antonio is the creator of concepts such as the Hierarchy of Purpose, featured by Harvard Business Review, or the Project Manifesto; which argue that projects are the lingua franca of the business and personal worlds from the C-suite to managing your career or relationships.

His research and global impact in modern management been recognized by Thinkers50 with the prestigious award “Ideas into Practice”.  Antonio is also a much-in-demand speaker at events worldwide. Over the past 15 years, he has presented at more than 160 conferences around the world.

Born in Madrid, Spain, and educated in Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United States, Antonio is an Economist with an MBA from London Business School and Insead’s International Director Program. He is fluent in five languages.


Project Management Has Strategic values

Q1.      Why did you choose project management as your career? Is it a coincidence or a deliberate choice? What are the setbacks and highlights in your career?

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez (Nieto-Rodriguez):           My first job in a project was a mere coincidence. Just after joining PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1997, I was asked to join an SAP implementation project at a large energy corporation. My role was in the project support office, basically ensuring that project team members would send their timesheets at the end of the week so that the project leader could have good estimates about the budget consumption. It was probably not the nicest job, but a great learning experience. After several projects, I decided to focus my career on project management. I launched the first global research on project management (PwC Boosting Business Performance through Project Management) and became PwC’s Global Lead Practitioner in Project and Change Management. Despite the focus, I had several setbacks in my career, including being fired, mostly because senior leaders, didn’t see and understand the value of project management. For the big executives it was a tactical discipline, not strategic.

Despite the setbacks, I was determined to convince executives of the strategic value of project management and make a career in this amazing field.

Looking backward at my achievements, I can say that so far I have managed to accomplish my two ambitious goals. I am especially proud of the recognition by Thinkers50 as one of the most influential management thinkers in the world, and the first project management expert ever to obtain this recognition. Also, having been the global Chairman of the Project Management Institute in 2016 was a great highlight in my career. I could see the passion of thousands of project management volunteers around the world. And I also had the pleasure to deliver a keynote in the HR congress in Shenzhen. I was truly impressed by the importance that China gives to project management.

Leadership is an Evolving Discipline

Q2.      In the era of artificial intelligence and digital transformation, which type of leadership style will be highly recommended?


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Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2018). Diversity can be an Asset. Interview with Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue XI – November. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/pmwj76-Nov2018-Yanjuan-Nieto-Rodriguez-Interview.pdf


About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan
, Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review Magazine and website. In the past, she has worked as a journalist and editor for China Manned Space Agency website and Student English Times. She once worked part-time as English teacher in training centers. For work contact, she can be reached via email [email protected] or Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuan-yu-76b280151/.