Africa|Business|Construction|Environment|Innovation|Mining|Power|PROJECT|Project Management|Projects|Risk Management|Technology|Training|Solutions|Operations
Africa|Business|Construction|Environment|Innovation|Mining|Power|PROJECT|Project Management|Projects|Risk Management|Technology|Training|Solutions|Operations

Course enables project management’s full potential

An image of a construction sector worker on site

BRIDGING THE GAP The course bridges the gap between contractors and project owners

27th January 2023

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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Not-for-profit professional project management organisation Project Management Institute (PMI) has launched a course covering critical power skills, among others, to assist project managers in bridging the gap between project owners and contractors.

PMI sub-Saharan Africa MD George Asamani explains that project managers need to use power skills to ensure all stakeholder views are onboarded and addressed which contributes to delivering optimum value for all involved.

Power skills, previously known as soft skills, refer to interpersonal skills that cannot be replicated by machines. These skills include communication, leadership and empathy, among others.

Research conducted by PMI, in collaboration with leading construction companies and construction training companies globally, found that there is a gap between contractors and project owners, particularly regarding coordination, collaboration and communication between involved stakeholders.

The course was developed in collaboration with global companies such as Aramco and training institutions such as Lean Construction Institute.

The course is aimed at professionals who already work within the industry or have completed foundational courses. It comprises seven units including communications, scope and change order management, interface management, performance and material management, contract and risk management, technology and innovation and execution planning.

PMI recently signed an agreement with industry council South African Council of Construction and Project Management Professionals (SACPCMP).

“The world-first collaboration will see the SACPCMP offer construction-specific learning and development to those registered with them. The partnership will boost the international currency of South African construction professionals,” says Asamani.

He adds that it is all about raising the standard of project and construction management delivery in South Africa. Further, many African governments have recognised the need for the course and are working with PMI to introduce it in their respective countries.

Asmani explains that project managers should be able to analyse all aspects of projects and determine opportunities for reskilling, new technologies and efficient processes that can be implemented and aligned to the project goals. The course will provide project managers with the skills to effectively do so.

In PMI’s work with various companies and governments, Asamani emphasises the need for power skills.

Asamani explains that referring to such skills as power skills rather than soft skills emphasises the importance of these skills particularly in comparison to other valued skillsets such as technical skills.

Further, he says that entire operations can be compromised, regardless of how excellent the company’s strategy is, if the employees do not possess power skills.

Businesses are beginning to value power skills and their role in ensuring project success. Companies value team success as opposed to individual success. Therefore, companies are prioritising power skills to ensure that their teams operate successfully, he explains.

A critical area of project management is stakeholder management which requires the ability to identify the different players in a project’s ecosystem as well as their aims and needs. Project managers then need to determine the best ways to interact with each stakeholder and assist them in achieving their aim without compromising the project’s overall goal.

He explains that a challenge in stakeholder management is effectively working with stakeholders at various levels within the organisation.

However, this challenge can be effectively mitigated by using power skills when navigating communication between different levels of the project.

“This can be upwards to stakeholders such as the CEO, which has different dynamics as opposed to stakeholders, such as the surrounding community,” says Asamani.

Apart from power skills, he notes that project managers should also continually develop their talent triangle as a whole – which refers to technical skills and business acumen in addition to power skills.

He cites the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as an example of project managers using their talent triangle to provide agile solutions amid a changing environment and to cope with various restrictions.

Project management teams have had to find new ways to manage projects remotely or digitally. Thus, companies within the mining industry that had not yet integrated new technology needed to start adopting technology to adapt to the changes that arose from Covid restrictions.

“Good project managers are able to manage change, regardless of where they are,” says Asamani.

He notes that, while project management is highly valued and critical to ensuring the success of projects, little attention is given to optimising project management to ensure better results or success.

“The mining sector across Africa could actually achieve better results or go to the next level of success by optimising operations through better project management,” he says.

Therefore, courses such as those PMI offers are critical in ensuring project managers are skilled to offer immense value in projects.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor


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