Welcome to the December 2017 PMWJ

The First Annual PMWJ Editor’s Choice Awards, and… Welcome to the December edition of the PM World Journal

By David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the December 2017 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ), the 65th uninterrupted monthly edition.  This edition contains 33 original articles, papers and other works by 36 different authors in 17 different countries.  News articles about projects and project management around the world are also included. Since the primary mission of this journal is to support the global sharing of knowledge, please share this month’s edition with others in your network, wherever in the world they may be.

For the past year I have used this space to discuss important trends or issues that I see as journal editor.  This month, we are announcing the first annual PMWJ Editor’s Choice Awards, a selection of top papers and articles published in this journal during 2017. Over the last 12 months we have published 340 original works in the PMWJ, including 75 featured papers and 83 articles (series, advisories, commentaries). All of the works we publish are seriously written; some are by authors for whom English is a second language so occasionally contain grammatical mistakes.  All of our authors are well-educated and serious professionals.  Many of the works are outstanding and deserve to be read multiple times.  A few are absolutely fantastic, clarifying important topics, simplifying issues or breaking entirely new ground.

In the spirit of celebrating the end of another good year, I wanted to showcase some of the papers and articles that I really liked and want others to read again (or for the first time if you are new to this publication.)  The papers were selected from among ‘featured papers” only, even though we have published excellent student papers and second editions.  The PMWJ featured papers each month are original works.  The articles noted below were also original works, shorter in nature but enlightening and useful to program and project managers worldwide.  The authors of these papers and articles deserve recognition.  These are my choices, totally subjective. If you have time, please go read their works once more.

            2017 Editor Choice – Featured Papers

The following papers have been selected to receive the 2017 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Award.  They are not ranked; they are however my favorite top seven.

Gender Issues in Project Planning and Management, by Ujeyo Margaret Stella (Busitema University), Kisige Abdu (Al-Mustaf Islamic College), Nabunya Kulthum (Makerere University), and Prof Peter Neema-Abooki (Makerere University), Kampala, Uganda (June 2017) – one of the most important papers we published this year, the authors take gender equality to an entirely new level.  Gender equality is not only a project management issue, but should be considered in project requirements and design as well as project outcomes, benefits and impacts.  If you are female, you will never forget reading this paper.

Deliberate and emergent strategies and origins of projects, by Alan Stretton, Sydney, Australia (November 2017) – Alan Stretton’s monthly contributions are all worth reading and rereading, many addressing topics of critical importance to both practicing project managers, executives and researchers.  His decades of experience drive his selection of topics; his vast knowledge and active research continue to spur new perspectives and understanding. This favorite is one of his most recent.  In this paper, Alan distills decades of theories and papers on strategic planning to a simple spectrum, a perspective that should help everyone more clearly understand where both strategies and projects come from and how programs and projects should link to strategy. This is a great paper.

Complexity in Large Engineering and Construction Programs, by Bob Prieto, Florida, USA (November 2017) – Also the latest paper that we have published by Bob Prieto, one of the world’s most experienced and respected experts on very large engineering and construction programs and projects. Yes, complexity seems to be a common theme and topic of discussion everywhere. In this paper, Bob removes our blinders regarding just how massive the complexity issue is on large programs.  His discussion of “perturbations” is enlightening.  If you think you know a lot about risk and complexity, I suggest you read this paper to learn even more.

Voluntary Usage of Earned Value Management on Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Lucky Enajite Edjenekpo, Warri, Nigeria (August 2017) – As Lucky stated in his opening sentence of this landmark paper, “Given the compelling array of benefits that can be derived from the application of earned value management (EVM), it is of great concern that this methodology is not practiced as much as it should be in modern day project management practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.”  His message: “.. the potential lurking in the conscientious application of EVM in curbing corruption and curtailing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and capital flight in sub-Saharan Africa cannot be overlooked..”  Since I started my career nearly 40 years ago in the EVM field, I love this paper.

Collaboratism: A Solution to Declining Globalisation and Rising Protectionism, by Prof Dr Pieter Steyn, South Africa and Dr Brane Semolic, Slovenia (March 2017) – The authors take on some global naysayers about globalization and technology, pointing to a different collaborative model for planning and managing international programs and projects.  I liked the discussion of big picture issues, global themes, future trends.  Collaboration is a proven approach to reducing risks; it has many other benefits as the authors point out.

Increasing Business Agility through Organizational Restructuring and Transformation, by Badri N. Srinivasan and Chandan Lal Patary, Bangalore, India (September 2017) – In this excellent paper, the authors attack one of the most current and important topics in modern organizational change – how to increase organizational agility.  They state “In today’s VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, every organization has to reorient itself on account of the changing business landscape… Organizations must explore opportunities to minimize waste, reduce handovers, improve transparency, reduce bureaucracy, and empower people.” Based on their experience at Societe Generale, the authors explain the issues and provide a model for achieving real organizational agility.

Framework for Creating a Building Information Modelling Environment in Architectural, Engineering and Construction Firms and Projects, by Oluseye Olugboyega, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria (June 2017) – Many organizations now recognize the value of BIM, but how is it successfully implemented?  In this detailed and well organized paper, Oluseye describes the requirements and issues associated with creating a BIM framework including: BIM authoring software technologies, BIM hardware, BIM contents library, BIM standards and BIM platform. Well researched and with links to important resources, this is a good primer for any organization anywhere in the world that is planning to implement BIM technology.  If you are working on a project in the built environment, read this paper; BIM is now also an important resource for project planning, project controls and project management on all large construction projects.

2017 Editor’s Choice – Articles

The following seven articles have been selected for the 2017 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Award.  They are not ranked; they are all among my favorites this year.

What did Taylor ever do for us? Scientific and humane management reconsidered, By Prof. Darren Dalcher, University of Hertfordshire, UK (April 2017) – Darren takes on Frederick Taylor, one of the founders of ‘scientific management’ and long considered responsible for some of the first scheduling techniques for both projects and operations.  One of my favorite passages in this article: “Many organisational psychologists despair of Taylor’s legacy. In his endeavour to maximise manual efficiency, Taylor abandoned the nuances and strengths of human nature and capability, displaying psychological illiteracy. Indeed, a key criticism of Taylor’s approach was that he treated people as machines.”  For some great history and historical perspective, this article is a classic.  Everyone in the project management profession should read it, especially those in leadership positions. (Frankly, all of Darren’s articles are worth rereading; he continues to contribute thought-provoking articles on a monthly basis).

Are Projects and Project Managers Fragile, Robust or Anti-Fragile? By Prof Tony Bendell, Nottingham, UK (June 2017) – Do we as individuals and organizations break under the weight of risks realized, project problems and complexity, or do we learn, grow and become more resilient? Based on his book ‘Building Anti-Fragile Organizations’ published by Gower in June 2014, Prof Bendell examines the shortcomings of conventional risk analysis, the impact of Black Swans, and the strategic, cultural, process and people requirements for the development of systems and organisations that get stronger from being stressed.  This was a great Advances in Project Management series article facilitated by Darren Dalcher.

Improve Your Diversity Intelligence: Identify your Blind Spots, by Paul Pelletier, Vancouver, BC, Canada (January 2017) – Paul may be better known for his great writing and speaking about bullying in the workplace, but his diversity article is a classic.  His Diversity Iceberg illustration is memorable; his message is clear.  We are all different, with different experiences, capabilities and characteristics.  The best leaders embrace diversity as a strength on teams.  This article helps us all find our blind spots in order to become better leaders.

On the Road to Project Society – A Swedish Story, by Torbjörn Wenell, Eskil Ekstedt and Rolf A. Lundin, Stockholm, Sweden (January 2017) – The first article in the series on Managing and Working in Project Society describes many of the topics in their award winning book of the same title.  They describe “the ‘projectification’ process in this country essentially building on his experiences starting in the 60’s with how international industrial companies in Sweden (like Volvo, Saab and Ericsson) developed and increasingly became supported by advanced projects to the present time when we have seen a diffusion of projects and project thinking to all parts of society today.”  It’s a fascinating, entertaining and enlightening article.

Managing Programme Benefits, by Andrew Hudson, UK (February 2017) – Another Advances in Project Management article coordinated by Prof Darren Dalcher, this long article provides an excellent primer on benefits realization management (BRM). Quoting Andrew: “There is no other purpose in doing a programme than to deliver value and realize benefits. This is the true measure of a programme’s success…. This article explains how being more effective at managing programme benefits can accelerate performance improvement and better enable organizations to achieve their strategic objectives. It explains common benefits management practices and explores reasons for programme benefit success and failure.” If you want to learn more about BRM, read this article based on Andrew’s chapter in the Gower Handbook of Program Management.

Crisis in Your Customer Project? Try Benefit Engineering, by Oliver Lehmann, Munich, Germany (October 2017) – The 3rd article in Oliver’s PMWJ series on Project Business Management, this article looks at benefits management from a whole new perspective.  Per the introduction, “A traditional approach to resolve monetary problems in customer projects is ‘Cost engineering’. This article describes an alternative solution named ‘Benefit engineering’, which can be more effective and leaves a customer with increased happiness, while the contractor’s problems are resolved.”  This is another great article about benefits management, from a practical perspective; reading this article may not only help save your project but your relationship with your customer.

Managing Strategic Initiatives, by Terry Cooke-Davies, PhD, UK (July, 2017) – Another Advances in Project Management series article, this article captures some of the research and insights that Terry has been providing in the programme and project management field for several decades.  Focusing on four “strands of thinking”, he points us to smart processes focused on the delivery of value, engaged people, flexible navigation of inevitable complexity and capable and knowledgeable leadership.  Simple, not so much! But necessary to stop the cycle of project failures.  Read this article!

Thank you to all 2017 Authors

We published many very good works this year.  I want to thank all of our authors and encourage them, and you, to keep the articles and papers coming.  Send your original works to me at [email protected]  To see all works in previous editions of the PMWJ, go to https://pmworldlibrary.net/pmworld-journal-archives/

Now – This month in the Journal

This edition of the PMWJ is full of good works from around the world, agreat way to end the year.  We begin with five featured papers. Dr. Pavel Barsegyan has contribute the first of several papers on the topic of “Elements of the Mathematical Theory of Human Systems”.  His paper is over my head; for management scientists, the equations and logic should be new and fascinating.  Alan Stretton is back with an extension of his paper from last month on strategic planning, this one titled “An organizational strategic framework, and project and other contributions to achieving strategic objectives.”  Alan is expanding our understanding of how, when and why projects are created.  Martin Smit in South Africa has contributed a paper on a related topic titled “Development of a project portfolio management model for executing organisational strategies: a normative case study.”  The two remaining papers discuss earned value analysis and critical factors hindering success on projects in Nigeria and the Sahel region of Africa. Featured papers are serious works that contribute to the global PM body of knowledge, so please give them a look and a possible reading.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL



David L. Pells is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.net) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (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 occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and international programs, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national nuclear security program.

David Pells 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.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (since 2012).  David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA.  He has published widely and spoken at conferences and events worldwide.  David lives near Dallas, Texas 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/