Project Management as a National Competence


How Modern Program & Project Management can Strengthen Organizations, Industries and Economies

David L. Pells

Addison, Texas, USA

It has now been widely proven that modern program and project management (PPM) can help an organization become more efficient, more productive and more competitive in the global economy. It therefore seems logical that if more organizations within specific industries embrace PPM best practices, then those industries will become more productive and competitive. If organizations and industries within regions, states and countries become more efficient and competitive, then local economies will benefit.

At the same time, if governmental agencies adopt project and program management best practices, and become more mature in the application and usage of advanced program management principles, then those agencies can also become more efficient and productive. As more government agencies implement PM, more programs and projects funded with public monies should be more successful, accomplished in less time and for less money than otherwise. In other words, governments can also become more efficient, productive and competitive in a global marketplace.

If both industrial and governmental organizations become more productive, accomplishing more and better results while using fewer resources, citizens will benefit in various ways and economies will grow. This article builds on that theme originally promoted by Ed Naughton at the Institute of Project Management of Ireland.

This subject is also supported by recent research by Professor Roland Gareis and his team at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Austria, who have been studying and publishing research results related to the project-oriented organization and project-oriented society. Their research related to project-oriented nations is particularly relevant.

The Value of Project Management

The entire argument that project management can help strengthen organizations, industries and economies is based on the premise that the use of modern project and program management adds value. While most experienced project managers and project management professionals know this intuitively, based on the value they have seen or created themselves, the Project Management Institute (PMI) actually funded a formal research project on this topic. A good description of that study follows here.

In 2004 the PMI commissioned the researchers at Athabasca University in Canada to conduct a study to find evidence of the value to organizations when project management is appropriately implemented. After conducting 447 interviews, reviewing 418 project summaries, and looking at more than 60 case studies from a globally dispersed array of industries, they concluded that project management has the ability to deliver significant value to organizations. Janice Thomas, PhD, and Mark Mullaly, PMP, documented the three years of global fieldwork and cross-disciplinary analysis conducted by the team in their book, Researching the Value of Project Management, published by PMI. [1]


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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. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally published in PM World Today in Mar It is republished here with the author’s permission.


About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor
PM World Journal


David Pells
is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (https://www.pmworldjournal.net/) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (http://www.pmworldlibrary.net/). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice. He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world.

David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); and Russian Project Management Association. Since 2010 he is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal. From June 2006 until March 2012, he was the managing editor of PM World Today. He occasionally provides high level advisory services for major programs, global organizations and the U.S. federal government. David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in business from Idaho State University in the USA. He has published widely, spoken at conferences and events worldwide, and can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/