Welcome to the January 2018 PMWJ

Global Citizens, Project Earth Revisited (again), Solving Global Problems and… Welcome to the January edition of the PM World Journal

By David Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the January 2018 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ), the 66th uninterrupted monthly edition.  This issue contains 34 original articles, papers and other works by 39 different authors in 14 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.  Last month, we launched the first Editor’s Choice Awards for outstanding articles and papers published in the PMWJ in 2017.  This month I go even bigger picture, solving global problems. What are we as project management professionals, either individually or as professional organizations, doing to help address pressing global problems?  Sometimes I think that is asking too much; how can we make a difference when the issues and problems seem so great? Now as I approach the end of my career, I am asking myself why I did not try to do more.

Recent Context

In September, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey which devastated the Texas coast, I led an initiative in partnership with the Dallas and Fort Worth Texas PMI chapters to help PMI members affected by that category 4 storm.  Because PMI and its various chapters in the USA are not registered as charities, we were restricted from raising money or providing financial assistance to individuals.  I explored options for creating a new charity for helping those in the PM field recover from natural disasters, but the legal and bureaucratic barriers were significant.  Instead, over three months we collected just over $2,000 worth of gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants and hardware stores, shipped to PMI chapter leaders in the Houston areas for distribution to PMI members whose homes were damaged by the hurricane.  Needless to say, those who received the gift cards, as small as they were, were extremely grateful. At least we did something! [1]

In November, APM published a remarkable report authored by Prof Peter Morris, one of the world’s most respected experts on modern project management. The report was titled “Climate Change and What the Project Management Profession Should be Doing about It: A UK Perspective.”  As stated in the report’s introduction: ‘Research on climate change has so far been led predominantly by physical scientists, but addressing how to mitigate and adapt to it will also require management and social science skills. Those expert in the world of projects and their management should have a significant role in this. This essay by Professor Peter Morris provides an initial scoping of where and how project management as a profession might address the implications and consequences of climate change.’ Peter ends the report in section 8.4, “So what should project management be doing?”, with suggestions for actions at the individual, enterprise, international and professional levels. [2]

Over the years, I have been involved with many discussions and a few initiatives to address some global problems; I’ve written some papers.  I decided to do something more this month.  But first, a little more context!

Global Citizens

Over the last few months, I have noticed television ads on CNN, NBC and a few other media channels in the United States by an organization called “Global Citizen”.  Founded in 2008 by three bright guys in New York who decided to try to make a difference, Global Citizen is now a major social action platform for those who want to help solve the world’s biggest challenges. Global Citizen is headquartered in New York, with offices in Canada, Australia and the UK. On their platform you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most and join a community committed to social change. Through their mix of content and events, grassroots organizing and extensive reach through digital channels, Global Citizen is building the world’s largest movement for social action. They organize massive global campaigns to amplify the actions of Global Citizens from around the world.  With millions of members and the support of many high-profile celebrities, they have organized concerts and events in New York’s Central Park and other places worldwide in recent years. [3]

Global Citizen is not the only group or global initiative underway, launched by concerned and motivated individuals worldwide.  While politicians have argued, made global agreements, established goals, and committed support and money, it often seems like they have done little to actually solve the problems.  It seems that individuals and online communities are now doing more and having a greater impact.  The message to me was “just do something”.

Project Earth Revisited (Again)

Believe it or not, “Project Earth” was the name of an initiative within the project management professional world launched in 1990 in Calgary, Canada following a keynote speech by Dr. Frank King, former chair of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games, at the PMI’90 Global Congress (The event was called Seminars/Symposium at that time).  In his dramatic presentation, Dr. King painted a dire picture of the damage being done to the planet by humans in recent years.  While global warming and climate change were not yet so front-and-center, significant environmental problems were well publicized and visible worldwide.  Dr. King challenged us as individuals and as a profession to do something about it.


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/