Welcome to the February 2018 PMWJ

Gone and Back Again, the Rise of Regional Project Management Conferences, and… Welcome to the February edition of the PM World Journal


By David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the February 2018 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ), the 67th uninterrupted monthly edition.  This edition contains 37 original articles, papers and other works by 39 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 or interesting trends or issues that I see as journal editor.  This month, I want to mention a trend that I’ve wanted to talk about for some time but found other topics somewhat higher priority – the increasing number of local and regional conferences around the world.

1980s and my first Conference Experiences

I began my professional career in 1976, learning project cost and schedule control at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) working on a large nuclear safety project.  Five years later I was working on a large defense program for a division of GTE, wandered into their corporate library and discovered an Encyclopedia of Associations in which I found a listing for the Project Management Institute (PMI®).  I contacted PMI, learned that they had a chapter nearby (I was living in Northern California at the time), attended some meetings and started to learn more about both PMI and the project management profession.  I learned that PMI had more chapters around the USA and that their biggest event was an annual conference called “Annual Seminars/Symposia”.

Five years later I was back in Idaho, having advanced to a leadership position and helping develop an enterprise-wide project management planning process covering hundreds of projects and 5,000+ employees.  By 1986, with an MBA in hand, I decided to author a paper for presentation at a project management conference.  I was 10 years into my project management career and wanted to share my recent experience with our successful initiative at the INL.  I discovered that PMI chapters in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver BC had launched an annual Pacific Northwest Regional Project Management Conference.  So I submitted an abstract to the next regional conference in Seattle and presented a paper there, my first conference presentation.  I followed that with a presentation the next year at the Northwest Regional PM Conference in Vancouver, BC.

By that time I was leading a new PMI chapter; I attended my first PMI Seminars/Symposia in Milwaukee in 1987.  At that time, I knew about the regional conferences in the Pacific Northwest and the big annual PMI conference, which was mostly attended by PMI members in the United States and Canada, but few outside North America.  The only way we learned about project management events was by reading PMI publications; this was long before the Internet and email.  I knew nothing about PM conferences in other countries.  I attended PMI’s annual Seminars/Symposia in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Then things changed for me.

1990 – 2000: Dominance of Big International Events

By 1990 I was living in Dallas, Texas, working on a massive science project, the Superconducting Super Collider.  That year I was also invited to assume the presidency of the PMI Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter, a young and still struggling chapter.  In 1990 I also attended two international conferences, both of which I learned about through PMI.  In June 1990, I travelled to Vienna, Austria to present a paper at the INTERNET’90 World Congress on Project Management.  It was a new and eye-opening experience.  I learned for the first time about INTERNET (the International Project Management Association, which later changed its identity to the IPMA) and its member associations in various European countries.  I became familiar with APM in the UK (actually joining APM in 1991), the Austrian PM Association and a few others. I also learned that some of those member associations conducted annual local conferences, for example in Finland and Germany.

In October 1990, I attended PMI’s annual conference (PMI’90) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I again met PMI leaders from around North America but also from South Africa (PMI’s largest chapter outside of North America).  I also met IPMA’s representative, David Mathie, who was attending the PMI conference under a cooperation agreement between PMI and IPMA and was there to promote the next IPMA congress in Florence, Italy.

In 1990, I also visited Russia and Ukraine for the first time, where I met professional leaders in those countries. I participated in project management conferences in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia in 1993 and 1995.

From 1991-2000, I attended every annual PMI conference around North America and IPMA congresses in Florence (1992), Oslo (1994) and Paris (1996).  Those were the big international events in the PM World.  By 1995 I had been elected to the PMI Board of Directors.  In October 1995, at PMI’95 in New Orleans, I organized and managed an event called the Global Project Management Forum, to which were invited leaders of other PM associations around the world for a meeting to discuss global cooperation.  About 20 such professional organizations were represented, primarily from Europe but also Brazil, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa and a few others.

In Paris in 1996, I met Brian Kooyman from Sydney who was representing the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM).  I learned about AIPM’s history, activities and annual conferences.  I was invited to both Brazil and South Africa in 1999, speaking at the PMI Sao Paulo chapter’s big conference and a bi-annual national conference in Johannesburg organized by PM South Africa.  By that time, I knew of regional conferences in the Nordic countries (annual events called NORDNET), Russia, India, Australia, Brazil and South Africa.  A few PMI chapters in North America had grown large and were starting to organize their own annual conferences.  But by and large, the two big international events organized by PMI and IPMA dominated the conference schedule.


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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/