Overcoming Volunteer Work Challenges: Lessons Learned from the PMI Arabian Gulf Chapter


By Eng. Hatem H. Shabaan, PMP



When I was studying to pass PMP exam that was based on 1996 edition of the PMBOK and during my reading of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Human Resource Management, I asked myself one question is there any chance to reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid Self Actualization level? There, according to Maslow’s theory, one does not work for security and money but to use his/her skill to help others!!

Again I asked myself what is that kind of work?

Three years later, I discovered the answer. It is the volunteer work. I strongly believe in these two magic words. It is an opportunity for everyone to have a bird eye view of our life needs pyramid.

Low Fee Seminars Program

On 26 February 2005 I began serving as Deputy Director of Certification & Education. My responsibility is to cover all of the activities in relation to identifying, planning, scheduling and coordinating with volunteer instructors and Project Management Institute, Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) staff in regard to the low Fee Seminars (LFS) program that PMI-AGC plans to conduct in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Each of these countries will be headed by LFS team members. LFS team is group of professionals have common goal of doing volunteer work to help other achieve PMP credentials.

Low Fee Seminars Challenges 

At the beginning, we had to face three challenges which are desire, knowledge, and skill. We had many questions related to these challenges:

  • Desire Challenges: Are we, LFS team members, willing to do what it takes to make this effort a success?
  • Knowledge Challenges: What service does LFS team offer? Why does LFS team offer that service? To whom does LFS team offer that service?
  • Skills Challenges: Which skills does LFS team have to have? How does LFS team offer that service?

LFS team started to exchanges emails. Everyone tried to contribute his/her viewpoint to tackle these challenges that come with looking for instructors, collecting reasonable numbers of trainees, finding free venues, preparing seminars materials, calculating reasonable seminars fees, building seminars agenda , giving 35 training “contact” hours, etc.


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About the Author 

pmwj28-nov2014-Shabaan-AUTHOR PHOTOEng. Hatem Hamed Shabaankuwait-flagflag-egyptflag-canadaflag-saudi-arabia


Eng. Hatem Hamed Shabaan has a Bachelor Degree in Computer & Systems Engineering from University of Ain-Shams, Cairo in 1987. Eng. Hatem has more than 26 years of international experience in ICT industry including strategic planning, project & program management, systems programming analyst and database designing. He has worked in Canada and the Middle East. Eng. Hatem is currently working as Senior Advisor at Saudi Telecom Company (STC), projects sector. Prior to joining STC, Eng. Hatem worked in Canada. He was senior programmer analyst for IBM, senior consultant for Air Canada and consultant for Xerox corporation. He led the development of various IT projects such as, Flight Operations, Airline Tickets Reservation, Ontario province Finance Legal Aid, eBusiness solution. Eng.

Hatem is currently serving as board member and volunteer officer of Senior Vice President-Membership, for Project Management Institute, Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC). From 2007 to 2009, he was elected as PMI-AGC director, Saudi Arabia central region. From 2005 to 2007, Eng. Hatem was appointed as PMI-AGC deputy director for certification & education. He awarded PMI-AGC token for 2006 – 2008 outstanding contribution & dedication to the chapter. He was a member of PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model-2008 OPM3, development team and a member of the PMI translation team of PMBOK 4th edition Arabic version. Eng. Hatem is Project Management Professional (PMP), Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD). He can be contacted at [email protected].