Every human life makes a difference, no matter how short or seemingly insignificant. Each of us play our part and our part is important. Some people, however, make a difference that can be measured empirically; the number of countries captured, employees employed, symphonies written, audience tickets sold, goals scored, medals won.

This week I had the honour to meet someone who founded an institute that went on to become the world’s biggest and most influential educational body on the topic of project management, The PMI. With 650,000 members worldwide, its growth from a group of four has proven not only a need but also a desire for sustainable professionalism in this arena.

Jim Snyder was there before the beginning and on Thursday he and I shared the stage in London’s Westminster hall talking to the next generation of project managers. But the biggest pleasure for me, apart from our private conversation back stage was the fact that Jim shared with us his take on the history of project management and how the PMI was formed.

Jim’s presence filled the room, boy can he tell a story. There was no hint of boasting or sense of self-importance – just a warm and personal account that acknowledge that the success of PMI was just as much down to three women whose names and faces are very rarely acknowledged, as to the pioneers who thought up the concept.  Listening to his story it was clear that his vision today was as focused and direct as it ever was.

Any of my students of ‘Applied Project Management’ will know how much emphasis I put on learning about our past in order to make sense of our present in order to plan for the future. An understanding of how the amazing projects of the past were accomplished is as important to me as it is to Jim.  So what did he and I discuss backstage, you may wonder? Not only did we compare notes on the history of project management, we also discussed the PMBok and how it needs to become much more relevant for 2020. What has been established over the last 47 years needs serious re-working. Change is needed and change will come.  Being a part of making it happen will be a challenge that I would gladly be a part of.

Have a good week,

Harley