Today we have the great pleasure of publishing an interview with Danny Vandeweyer, 2013 PD AWARD For Excellence by ProjectDirectors.org and Chairman of IPMA in Belgium:

Q: First congratulations for your Award. What do you think were the most relevant Project Management evolutions in 2013?

A: Thank you, it’s nice to receive an award like this. This means that my efforts in the world of Project, Program- and Portfolio Management are appreciated. And I promise that I’ll keep up the good work the coming years.

Concerning the evolutions in 2013 with regards to Project Management I must say that unfortunately due to crisis, which lasted till the end of 2013, there were no big noticeable evolutions in that area. The only thing that’s worthwhile to mention is the release of PMBOK 5 at the beginning of the year. But even this is only a minor update of the guide, just to get aligned with ISO21500 which was released in September 2012.

However, although I haven’t seen much evolution on project level in 2013, I’ve noticed a growing level of awareness about the benefits of Portfolio management. Companies try to keep their costs under control and of course they’re also looking at the overall costs of projects. This gives them the possibility of being able to make decisions about which project will and which will not be executed. The vehicle to do this is called Portfolio management. Implementation of it is still on low level, but at least it’s a start and I’m sure it’ll keep on growing in the next years.

Q: What do you think are the new challenges in Project Management for 2014? What can we expect in 2014 with regards to Project Management?

A: In 2014 I see a lot of possibilities in the Project management world. First of all there’s ISO21500, which surely for the moment is only a guideline, but one of its goals is to provide a common language for the project managers and people working in projects. Think what a progress that would mean for companies that work with several suppliers, each using their own methodology to deliver results. For the moment It isn’t always easy to understand each other. In order to obtain this, companies will start aligning the methodology they use with the ISO guideline. I’m not saying that they’ll succeed in this right away but maybe within the a few years there’ll be less Babylonian confusion of tongues in the world of projects.

Next to this, the interest in extending the skills and competences, a Project Manager needs to have, will continue growing. In this sense I strongly believe that assessment based certification like IPMA’s Four Level certification suite will gain importance for both Project professionals as the organisation.

Another important trend is that, although it started already some years ago, in 2014 Project Managers will be using more and more social media in their work. The applications and apps for managing projects will continue to evolve and become more integrated with each other, which will result in a growth in their maturity. This will make instant information on the project status possible, so that the PM and Executive/Project board can make immediate and founded decisions.

The growing use of social media will also change the way of learning. There will still be class training, but only for the basics or for workshops on specific topics. The more in-depth knowledge will be obtained through webinars, videos, online courses, and so on.

And let’s not forget the growing importance of Portfolio management, which will get more and more mature in 2014 and the next years.

So I’m very hopeful for the future of the project profession.

Q: What are your plans for this coming year with regards to Project Management?

A: Well, although the current version of ISO21500 isn’t complete, at least that’s the way I see it, it has its benefits because of the common language. One of the things I will be doing is to guide companies in their endeavour to align the methodology they use with the ISO guideline. There’s no need to throw away Prince2, PMBOK or any other method, it’s just a matter of alignment. I’ll also be doing a lot of research in the area of social media. This is important for me since I also provide training and I want to incorporate social media into these training. And the third plan I have is to help companies in growing in their project-, program- and portfolio maturity. One thing is sure, 2014 will be too short for me.

Q: What is your best advice for a newbie Project Manager?

A: Always bear in mind that there’s a formula for performing Successful Project Management (SPM). SPM = CS + BP. CS stands for using Common Sense. Without knowing, we act as project managers in our lives. As an example: next Saturday you go shopping with your partner and your kids. I’m sure before leaving you start thinking what you need to buy, where you’re going to buy it, how you’re going to get there and if there are there any risks on the way like traffic jam, what your budget is, and so on. Success is not guaranteed to end a project successfully yet, but at least we are using our common sense. What we still miss is BP. This stands for using Best Practices. They are a collection of activity sequences, tools and, techniques that will help us in our project. They help us to find out what the needs/requirements are, how we can plan, how we can calculate the budget we need, and how we can monitor, control and take corrective actions, and so on.

So use this formula, use your common sense and start studying best practices like Prince2, IPMA’s ICB or PMBOK. Make them work for you.

Q: What would be your best advice for a senior Project Manager?

A: Actually my advice for this group is the same as for the newbie, only dig in deeper and study as much as you can about best practices, methods, frameworks, tools, techniques, skills and competences. They will all help you to improve you as a project manager.

Q: Again congratulations for your Award and feel free to comment anything else.

A: Thanks again for granting me this award and I’ll continue contributing in 2014. 

The PD Board is the ProjectDirectors.Org Committee of Experts on Program, Porfolio & PMO. It is formed by top referent experts globally recognized. The PD Board directs and performs quality control and assurance in the PD-Org community.