PM Competence Is Key Growth Driver of Developing Countries


Interview with Ding Ronggui

Dean of Department of Management Science and Engineering Research Institute School of Management, Shandong University

Shandong, China

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan

Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)

Journalist’s Introduction

When it comes to project management in China, there is a name that we can’t miss: Ding Ronggui. Ding Ronggui, Doctor of Engineering, is Professor, Doctoral Supervisor and Dean of Department of Management Science and Engineering Research Institute, Shandong University School of management

Praised as the “spokesman and salesman of China wisdom in project management”, Professor Ding Ronggui has been devoted to promoting China wisdom in project management. Reading his articles and books including a wide variety of quotations from Chinese Literature, I’m amazed by his profound knowledge and thought-provoking observations. His newly published book Taiji Logic: Chinese Wisdom for Project Governance has been well-received by readers. It offers new insights into how Taiji Logic facilitates project governance. The book is just one example of how he draws project management wisdom from Chinese culture.

As a professor and consultant, he attaches great importance to the interaction of theory and practice. He insists on improving and perfecting his project management thinking in practice. Standing at the forefront of project management research, he is capable of explaining professional terms in simple, vivid and interesting language

As a PM enthusiast, he enjoys doing creative work and communicating with people from diverse cultural and knowledge backgrounds. In his eyes, projects are the platform for stakeholders to carry out cooperation and project management means achieving unique or even challenging accomplishments by uniting all possible forces. That’s why he chooses PM as his career. He takes great delight in doing what he loves.

Benjamin Franklin has said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Professor Ding Ronggui takes this quote further by saying that, “In fact, there is a third thing that is certain and unavoidable. That is, we all live in projects.”  I hope that with commitment and efforts from talent like Professor Ding Ronggui, we will all live happily and successfully in projects one day.



Part 1: PM and Chinese Culture

Project Management Review (PMR):    As the person who coined the terms “project thinking” and “project mindset”, would you please introduce effective ways of project thinking?

Ding Ronggui (Ronggui):        As effective project managers, they should have three fundamental competencies, including the competency of understanding project information, the competence of identifying and integrating project resources and the competence of transforming conceptions into project deliverables. To possess the three competencies, project managers should have effective ways of project management thinking.

Project thinking includes system thinking and dialectical thinking.

Many problems result from lack of systems. For projects, we need to establish a system, which is the balance between partial and overall goals. Different aspects of a thing are interconnected. An important aspect in system thinking is stakeholder thinking.

Projects are unique, new, dynamic and temporary. All things are unitary and opposing. That’s why we need dialectical thinking. In project management, there are lots of dialectical thinking viewpoints. For example, we shouldn’t rely on people, but systems including people.

China-style project management takes root in system thinking and dialectical thinking. And Taiji thinking integrated the two thinking ways.

PMR:   You are hailed as the “spokesman and salesman of China wisdom in project management”. From your perspective, what’s the impact of Chinese culture on project management?

Ronggui:         The key to management is to build relationship between people. The approach of building such relationships and its effectiveness are closely associated with culture. It’s not sufficient to rely on hard rules especially for innovative projects with diverse stakeholder backgrounds. Soft culture-specific management style and leadership art are more useful and important.

If we compare hard rules to bricks for building a house, culture will be the gap between them. Therefore it’s important to take culture into consideration in project management. Compared with western cultures, Chinese culture focuses more on human sympathy and interpersonal relationship and even those subtle unspeakable emotions. “Finalizing a project and thus making a group of friends” is common among Chinese project managers, which shows the importance of culture.


To read entire interview, click here


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: Yanjuan, Y. (2018).  PM Competence Is Key Growth Driver of Developing Countries, Interview with Ding Ronggui, Project Management Review, China, Republished in PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue VII – July.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Professor-Ronggui.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/.