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Why Project Management Learning is Flawed

What will we pass on to our children, and through them to our children’s children? For Mark Reeson who blogs for the Association for Project Management, we will pass on project management. To that end, his Living Learning for Children (LLC) program was developed to teach children around the world project management skills. For although there are more certified project managers globally than at any other time, project success rates have more or less stagnated.

Starting with the Kids

Reeson believes the field of project management could be fundamentally changed if enough effort were made to shape the young minds of tomorrow. This is also a savvy move to manage (on a vast scale, both spatially and across time) the risk inherent in managing projects. Reeson distinguishes between competency and ability. The former he cites as the key factor that ought to define the PM. More than a task or set of skills tacked onto IT qualifications post-exam, the title of project manager ought to be one that represents an entire discipline and profession.

Taking PM Training Seriously

The original children’s program broke project management into practical and team-learning components. After its upgrade to LLC, the program also included cultural and behavioral training, to help future PMs to understand their global context. Reeson makes it clear that he is not concerned with a superficial approach to educating youth:

By creating an environment that understands what makes a good project manager and then nurturing those personal skills and enhancing the individuals has to be the way ahead for an improved future for behaviours, mannerisms and industry. It is time that the entire project community starts to make a real difference by working together to truly understand the DNA of a good project manager. Whatever it takes to achieve such a task, that time to start is now.

Rather than simply teaching children about what is possible, it’s time we start listening to their needs, says Reese. Then, and perhaps with a bit of patience, we adults will learn something too.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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