The fastest learner wins. Every day.

The fastest learner wins. Every day.

Leadership, PM4NGOs

This article has been originally published at APMG

Technology is moving rapidly – so how do we keep up?

CEOs complain about the lack of employee’s essential skills

According to PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, four out of five CEOs complain about their employees lack of essential skills and identified this factor as a threat to growth. The problem has escalated over the past five years and is raised consistently across all regions: CEOs in Japan and Central/Eastern Europe are most worried (95% and 89%, respectively), whereas those in Italy (55%) and Turkey (45%) are the least anxious about it.

The skills shortage can restrict growth chiefly because it stifles innovation and raises workforce costs. It’s understandable that organizations are concentrating on reskilling. Given the right context, people can be highly adaptable, and an organization’s ability to harness that adaptability will be critical as the world of work evolves.

Employees are willing to learn

The good news is that employees are more than willing to reskill and upskill. According to a PwC global survey of more than 12,000 workers, employees are happy to spend two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills. Digital skills have a short shelf life, so learning will need to be continuous and woven into the organizational culture.

Skills mismatches have a direct impact on a nation’s GDP, tax revenues and social safety net bill.

So, the OECD Skills Outlook 2019 aims to understand how policies (in particular those that affect skills development and use), can shape the outcomes of digital transformation and translate into more equally shared benefits among and within countries’ populations. 

The Economist reports that as automation, AI, and new job models reconfigure the business world, lifelong learning has become accepted as an economic imperative.

Development is important for employee happiness

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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:  

Continue reading “Five hidden skills every project manager needs”

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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.

Continue reading “6 tips for keeping your team motivated”

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Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity

Leadership, Program Management

Development professionals everywhere work to address the most complex global and local problems, ranging from extreme poverty and armed conflict, to outbreaks of infectious disease and gender-based violence. The root causes of the problems that development and on-governmental organizations (NGOs) seek to overcome often require multiple strategies and interventions to address the complex causes of poverty, violence, disease, social injustice, environmental degradation, and humanitarian disaster.



Program Management for Development Professionals Guide - Program DPro Guide - English 6.40 MB 5154 downloads

Free PDF Format - Full Guide - Version 1.6. June 2019. ...


Working in a dynamic sector requires multi-dimensional solutions to bring about change and an approach that equips country and regional teams to be responsive and capable of delivering excellent programs in a continuously changing environment. To do this successfully, a Program Manager must have a good understanding of the external context and make sound judgments regarding the implementation of programs, projects and activities. Continue reading “Managing Complexity”

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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.

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What is leadership? The big debate…

What is leadership? The big debate…


This article was originally published on APM.

Leadership is such an interesting and evocative abstract noun. It conjures up a variety of different expectations, experiences and contexts. Despite the enormous amount of literature about leaders and leadership over the ages, there is still much debate over the essence of leadership.

‘What is leadership?’ is such a simple question, yet it continues to draw extensive debate. My favourite definition of leadership is:

A set of skills enabling an individual to have followers. This individual may or may not have formal authority or a hierarchical position, but they are highly visible and set a positive example.

Traditional views of leadership tend to focus on a formalised role, title or hierarchy – on centralised command and control. These views often emphasise the ‘lone’ hero or maverick. More recent views of leadership have introduced an emphasis on social and ethical behaviour: Richard Greenleaf (1970) has given us the concept of servant leadership; Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1994), David Chrislip and Carl Larson (1994), David Archer and Alex Cameron (2008), and Ken Blanchard (2015) have developed the idea of collaborative leadership; Daniel Goleman (2003) has given us ideas around emotionally intelligent leadership, Bill George (2004) authentic leadership, and Deborah Ancona (2007) incomplete leadership.

Leadership and change

In today’s context – think climate change, disruptive business models, refugees and economic migration, artificial intelligence, globalisation, extended supply chains, data harvesting, exploiting new energy sources – leadership is about change. And this is how it connects strongly with the project world. We recognise that projects introduce change, especially those major complex projects involving infrastructure, digitisation and organisational transformation. Continue reading “What is leadership? The big debate…”

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PM4NGOs and APMG announce the recipient of the 2016 Alan Harpham Award

Alan Harpham Award, Development Sector, Leadership

The Alan Harpham Award honors and recognizes an individual with distinguished actions in promoting the professionalization of project management in the international development and humanitarian sectors. The selected winner demonstrates not only leadership in advocating for project management professionalization within the sector but also in making it available to those who are most in need and to a range of stakeholders in the sector such as community-based organizations or local NGOs. The award is named in honor of Alan Harpham, former Board Member of PM4NGOs and Chairman of APMG, and a global citizen dedicated to making this sector and community a better place.

PM4NGOs and APMG are delighted to announce that the recipient of the Alan Harpham Award in 2016 is Mazen Housseiny, Head of Programs at Syria Relief.

Alan would have appreciated the encouragement and affirmation this gives Mazen Housseiny, a worthy recipient who is doing some excellent work to support people living and working in extremely difficult circumstances. I wish him well in this creative venture”, says Revd Di Harpham (Alan’s wife).

Mazen has worked with a number of Syrian capacity-building NGOs to conduct the PMD Pro training to a variety of aid workers not only based in Turkey but also for those that are working on the Northern side of Syria. Many of those training sessions were free of charge to support the CBOs that have limited funding to send their staff to such training. His work has targeted the aid workers that are working in the besieged areas in Syria (e.g. Rural Damascus, North of Homs and Aleppo) through webinar and Skype sessions. Those trainings have encouraged other Syrian capacity-building NGOs to establish training centers inside Syria and to increase the efforts that they are doing there compared with the same that are done in Turkey.

Continue reading “PM4NGOs and APMG announce the recipient of the 2016 Alan Harpham Award”

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Join PM4NGOs Board of Directors

Board Members, Leadership

PM4NGOs seeks motivated candidates to join our Board of Directors. PM4NGOs promotes the professionalism of program and project management in the international development sector. We invite applications from individuals with a passion for NGO project management and a drive to influence, enable and empower development professionals around the globe. Holders of PMD Pro certification who have experienced the benefits of the standard first hand through work in the community / field projects or organizations are especially encouraged to apply.

PM4NGOs’ directors empathize with the organization’s vision and mission, are unpaid and act as advisors to the organization’s Operations Manager in their specific areas of expertise. As the organization is small, they also use their professional expertise to support and contribute to the work of the organization. Our organization relies on its Board to guide organizational strategy, fundraising, marketing, product development and fiscal responsibility. PM4NGOs directors come from the NGO and private sectors and have a range of specialist expertise including project and programme management, NGO administration, governance and law, professional training and skill building, finance, fundraising, communications and marketing and monitoring & evaluation. Continue reading “Join PM4NGOs Board of Directors”

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What did the Project Managers ever do for us?

Leadership, Program Management, Project Management

There is that famous scene in Monty Python and The Life of Brian where the rebels are demanding action against the oppressive Romans and ask the question ‘What did the Romans ever do for us?’- The answers came back over and over again as the rebels listed the many things that the Romans brought with them … medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health. So, quite a lot!


I sometimes hear of project management and project managers being challenged in much the same way … ‘what has project management done for us (the organisation)?’ The thinking presumably goes that there are projects but if the business keeps doing projects then they become (presumably) less unusual and less risky and therefore they don’t need this elite band of project managers to constantly be ‘on the case’. Or perhaps it I less a matter of thinking and more a matter of memory loss, forgetting what project based business life was like before project management was in place and making a real difference. Continue reading “What did the Project Managers ever do for us?”

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The High Cost of Losing Focus

Board Members, Leadership, Project Management

Leadership is all about being focused. That’s the leaders single biggest priority. To determine where to lead to, and then to focus on that and move forward.

But what happens when the leader loses focus? Disaster.

See, the leader’s job is to lead others, not just themselves. So when the leader loses focus, everyone he’s leading suffers, not just the leader. We see this in the news every day, and we see this in our own personal lives.

Continue reading “The High Cost of Losing Focus”

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