Can Organisations Standardise Their Approach to Project Management and Still Remain Adaptive?

Can Organisations Standardise Their Approach to Project Management and Still Remain Adaptive?

Development Sector, Project Management

This article has been originally published at Humentum

Our sector is notably opposed to the language of standardisation. So, when preparing to speak at the Humentum conference this year on how large organisations can standardise their approaches to project management and remain adaptive, the first thing I did was try to find an alternative for that phrase.

A quick google thesaurus of ‘standardise’ throws up a long list of equally, often more, uncomplimentary terms. To institutionalise, to stereotype, to regiment or mass produce. Not things most Project Managers or organisations would want to be associated with.

Scrolling down to the list of antonyms for ‘standardise’ gave even more reason to want to avoid it. To mix up, prevent, change or differentiate. These are camps which any PM worth their stripes would much rather sit in. Our primary goal is to instigate change. To prevent bad things from happening. 

Five hidden skills every project manager needs

Five hidden skills every project manager needs

Development Sector, Leadership, Project Management

This article has been originally published at APM

So you’ve decided you would like to climb aboard the project management ride, and feel that your love for planning, passion for budgeting and the pleasure evoked by telling people what to do will get you climbing the career ladder. But is this enough? What about the soft skills that you need to land and sustain your dream project manager role? Being a project manager can sometimes compare to being a pawn in a difficult game of chess. You are often assigned to projects which are aimed to implement change within the business but are fraught with politics and bound in bureaucracy. In these instances the project manager is often expected to perform an act of magic to deliver a project. I’m going to give you the real deal and tell you from my hands on perspective the skills you need to succeed as an excellent project manager:  

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Depoimento sobre o PMD Pro – Saulo Esteves

Depoimento sobre o PMD Pro – Saulo Esteves

Development Sector, Humanitarian Sector, PMD Pro, PMD Pro Certification

Enviado pela APMG International

Nome:                  Saulo Esteves
Profissão:            Profissional de Monitoramento e Avaliação de Projetos Sociais
Organização:      ChildFund Brasil


Qual é sua opinião sobre o treinamento / exame PMD Pro?

“Não tenho dúvidas de que o PMD Pro é o melhor curso de gerenciamento de projetos para profissionais do terceiro setor. A grande vantagem do PMD Pro é que existem excelentes ferramentas aplicáveis a todos os ciclos de vida do projeto. Além de fornecer conteúdo rico para o setor de desenvolvimento, o PMD Pro permite que você seja certificado internacionalmente em gestão de projetos. Eu recentemente obtive a certificação de nível 2. ”


Você já utilizou o exame em seu trabalho? Se sim, como isso ajudou?

“Sim. Graças ao PMD Pro, o ChildFund Brasil e seus parceiros locais implementaram as melhores práticas e abordagens para o gerenciamento de projetos por meio de ferramentas específicas aplicáveis ao setor de desenvolvimento social. As pessoas que foram capacitadas tornaram-se mais capazes e seguras para realizar seu trabalho. Isso faz com que todos os programas e projetos de nosso portfólio sejam bem-sucedidos e nos coloca entre as melhores ONGs do Brasil. Hoje, sinto-me particularmente familiarizado com questões relacionadas aos ciclos de vida do projeto, medição de impacto, indicadores sociais, gerenciamento de riscos, partes interessadas do contexto social e outras questões específicas do terceiro setor. ”


O PMD Pro te ajudou a desenvolver sua carreira? Se sim, como?

“Sim. Após o treinamento e a certificação do PMD Pro, me sinto mais qualificado para atuar em contextos desafiadores do setor de desenvolvimento e preparado para tomar as decisões corretas ao gerenciar projetos sociais. Com a certificação, ganhei mais credibilidade profissional e, com o conhecimento, tenho a oportunidade de treinar outras pessoas para que os projetos da minha organização tenham um impacto positivo na vida de crianças, adolescentes, jovens e suas comunidades.”

PMD Pro Testimonial – Saulo Esteves

PMD Pro Testimonial – Saulo Esteves

Development Sector, Humanitarian Sector, PMD Pro, PMD Pro Certification

Sent by APMG International

Name:                  Saulo Esteves
Role:                     Professional of Monitoring and Evaluation of Social Projects
Organization:      ChildFund Brasil


What are your thoughts on the training / exam?

“I have no doubt that PMD Pro is the best project management course for professionals in the third sector. The great advantage of PMD Pro is that there are excellent tools applicable to all project life cycles. In addition to providing rich content for the development sector, PMD Pro enables you to be internationally certified in project management. I recently achieved the Level 2 certification.”


Have you used the exam in your job role yet? If yes, how has it helped?

“Yes. Thanks to PMD Pro, ChildFund Brazil and its local partners have implemented best practices and approaches to project management through specific tools applicable to the social development sector. The people who have been empowered have become more capable and safer to perform their work. This makes all the programs and projects in our portfolio succeed and places us among the best NGOs in Brazil. Today, I particularly feel more familiar with issues related to project life cycles, impact measurement, social indicators, risk management, stakeholders from the social context, and other specific third sector issues.”


Has it helped you to develop your career? If yes, how?

“Yes. After PMD Pro training and certification, I feel more qualified to act in challenging contexts of the development sector and prepared to make the best decisions when managing social projects. With the certification I have gained more professional credibility and with the knowledge I have the opportunity to train others, so that projects of my organization have a positive impact on the lives of children, adolescents, youth and their communities.”

We would like to thank Saul for the testimonial!
How about you? How is your experience with PMD Pro?

FIELD – Field Managers in Emergencies Learning and Development

FIELD – Field Managers in Emergencies Learning and Development

Development Sector, Humanitarian Sector

Save the Children is offering you the chance to get involved in the development of a pioneering humanitarian learning resource!

FIELD (Field Managers in Emergencies Learning and Development) is a ground-breaking, free capacity building programme currently being designed by Save the Children, with support of World Vision International and funding from the IKEA Foundation.

FIELD’s focus is to develop the pool of local, national, and international staff who can prepare for and take charge of in-country operational programmes in humanitarian responses.

If you want to learn more and engage, watch the FIELD Programme Video, visit FIELD Announcement Page, or contact the FIELD team:

Valerie Gebhard:

Timothy Quick:


The rise and reality of INGO domestic programming

The rise and reality of INGO domestic programming

Development Sector

Author: Susannah Pickering-Saqqa
This article was originally published at Bond

There is a growing interest in the idea of INGOs running programmes in their home countries alongside their projects in the global south. These “domestic programmes” (DP) range from helping impoverished communities in the UK, Canada and the USA to supporting refugees and asylum seekers entering Germany and Sweden.

Some INGOs, like Islamic Relief Worldwide, are embracing domestic programming for numerous reasons, but this multi-mandate focus presents a range of challenges.

Why some international NGOs are working at home

DP has traditionally been an issue that receives little attention, but it has taken on a higher profile in recent years. This is due to several interconnected factors:

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6 tips for keeping your team motivated

6 tips for keeping your team motivated

Development Sector, Leadership

This article was originally published on APM.


The motivated team is the more productive team. That’s a fairly well established fact. As the project manager or PMO director how do you get there? How do you make sure your project teams are as motivated and engaged as possible every time out on every project?

As usual, I have some thoughts and opinions – coming from experience, logic and observation – that result in my personal list of six key tips to keep your project teams focused on the end goal…


1. Pay them well and timely
This may apply more to consulting situations but consultants are people, too. Your project management staff and supporting team members – pay them well. Trust me, keeping the good ones around – and you know who they are and they know who they are – is very important to the success of your projects, the satisfaction of your project clients and the financial viability of your company. Don’t let or force the good ones to leave. It’s expensive to acquire and onboard good new talent and your projects and customers are important.


2. Engage them as early as possible

You want an accountable and motivated project team? Get them assigned as early as possible to the projects. They can assist the project manager in early project planning and even take part in project kickoff. And the sooner the customer sees a full team the better. Your full team project engagement will be better if the team is involved in planning and the customer sees the teams as a well-oiled productive and collaborative unit as early in the project as possible. Yes, that can and will add expenses to the project so make that part of the sales culture and process to plan that in to the price of the projects overall. It is important if you can do it.

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How to be productive when you’re juggling multiple projects?

How to be productive when you’re juggling multiple projects?

Development Sector, Leadership

This article was originally published on APM.


Do you feel overwhelmed by the number or variety of projects that you’re handling simultaneously? Many professionals welcome the opportunity to take on different roles and responsibilities, or to deal with several clients or campaigns at the same time – there’s no better way to avoid boredom. But just as juggling balls in the air requires coordination and dexterity, it also takes a certain skill-set to get things done while juggling in a metaphorical sense. Here are my top tips:


  1. Resist the urge to multi-task

    While listening to a conference call about one project, are you tempted to check your email, scroll through social media, or jot down notes about something totally unrelated. Or do you keep several screens open on your laptop, switching from one document or spreadsheet to another?

    Contrary to some perceptions, multi-tasking can damage productivity rather than enhance it. Indeed, research shows that only two per cent of the population can do it successfully. According to neuroscientists the brains of ‘supertaskers’ become more active as they take on more tasks but for the vast majority of us, no amount of practice enables us to perform in these conditions. Furthermore, repeatedly shifting attention is exhausting because it takes time and energy to focus.

  2. Declutter your diary

    Multiple projects can entail a deluge of demands on your energy and creativity. They can also lead to an inordinate amount of ‘time clutter’ – appointments, meetings, deadlines, etc.

    The key to getting things done efficiently and effectively is to review your schedule, to let go of surplus commitments and to focus on what matters most. You may have heard the expression ‘When everything is important, nothing is.’ It’s particularly relevant to being productive. Learning to plan and prioritise is paramount. And if there’s too much on your to-do list, decide what you can either discard or delegate.

  3. Aim for progress, not perfection

    Over the years, I’ve identified perfectionism as one of the most common challenges for anyone who struggles with time management. Are you putting yourself under pressure because you’re not only trying to complete several projects but you’re also endeavouring to do them all perfectly? If you’re aiming for impossibly high standards, it’s worth asking yourself this simple question: why aim for perfect when excellent will do? Another antidote to perfectionism is to distinguish between when 100 per cent is required and when it isn’t. More often than not, you’re likely to find that the projects you’re juggling don’t need to be perfect; they just need to be done.

There’s no question that taking on several projects can prove testing but if you enjoy a challenge, the rewards can be immense. In fact, once you become accustomed to managing different teams, topics and tasks, you may never wish to handle just one project at a time.


Read the original article at APM.

Social Development Project Management Overview

Social Development Project Management Overview

Development Sector, Statistics

The Communitaria Consultoria Social has concluded a research about Social Development Project Management in Brazil:

“This research reflects our discomfort on issues faced daily as a consultancy. At times, we partake in dialogue with organizations trying to clarify how to form adequate goals for projects, while other times we discuss advanced methods of impact evaluation. In the field of social investment we have many different levels of knowledge that provoke us continuously. We frequently catch ourselves in conversations about just how much the challenges we encountered during operations have in common.

Therefore, the idea was to create conversation around discussing the number of coincidences and to what extent the exchange of knowledge and of practices can lead us – as part of the social investment field – to discuss and find solutions more collectively. We have twice managed to gather a group of stakeholders but, beyond difficulties with agendas, we had to rise to the challenge of investing alone in free circles of knowledge, despite being a small company… The next step was to formulate research, with the help of the participants, in order to map out the field and generate knowledge that would lead us to reflect on it.

It was not an easy journey, but we counted on people who were dedicated and willing to collaborate.

The response to the research took longer than we would have liked. We had problems along the way, yet we continued on and we would try to further analyze each group of results so as to provide all the possibilities of vision and analysis that we could. We did not focus on coming to conclusions by ourselves because we would wish for all the data to help you arrive to your own conclusions and experiences… We believe that everyone has his or her own conclusions and paths to follow.

Also, a big thank you to all those who have participated, it has been incredible!”
Communitaria Team