PMSA Conference

Maintaining the high standards set in previous years, Project Management South Africa (PMSA) has once again lined up an impressive group of speakers for its 2012 biennial conference.  Amongst them is keynote speaker John Thorpe who is managing director of Arras People UK, an international recruitment company focusing on project management positions. 

As a founder of Arras People UK, John has significant experience in the field of Programme and Project Management and is the driving force behind the Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report, an in depth review of project managers working in the UK and Europe.

CEO of PMSA, Taryn van Olden says that the keynote address will  be entitled ‘Resourcing the Future’ complementing the theme of the conference which is the ‘Next Generation Project, Programme and Portfolio Management’.  “During the conference we will be focusing on the changing face of the technology, resources, practices, and principles enabling successful projects across the spectrum of industries. Presentations, workshops and research papers will be presented in topic-specific themes

Based on the success of the annual Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report, John is inviting local PM practitioners to take part in a similar survey from which he will capture a snapshot of the project management sector in South Africa.  He will use the data to add a local flavour and relevance to his keynote address.”

Says John:  “The aim is to get enough data to be able to weave this into the address thus making examples relevant to the local community. I think many of the topics and challenges relevant to a project management audience travel across continents and localisation just helps put it in context.”

Having previously presented to audiences across Europe, the US and India, the PMSA conference will mark his first visit to South Africa.

Taryn explains:  “Although Arras People is essentially a recruitment concern, what attracted me to them is their desire to know their PM audience and deliver commentary on what they know and interpret this for their clients to ensure a maturing of the PM people environment. They make brilliant use of social media channels to share their insights and provide invaluable advice to all who seek it, making them a shining light in what is an uncertain space.” 

“We have always invited global thought leaders to speak at the conference and this year we identified those we see as the ‘next generation’ of emerging prominent people who can back up what they say with interesting stats and interpretations of where project management is going from the individual practitioner perspective, to complement our usual content focus which has been on the body of knowledge around the practice of project management.  John’s profile more than fits the bill.”  

The survey, which will be circulated to delegates before the conference, will provide an in depth overview of the  project management community ranging from demographics, job title and salary, qualifications, the sector in which the participant works, years of experience and current membership to related associations, roles and the  levels of involvement and complexity in those roles, the participant’s impact on the work environment, budgets and feedback from stakeholders to give insight into the functionality of a project manager in South Africa.  

Now in its seventh year, the online UK survey has provided the Arras team with the source data that allows to it to determine interesting statistics associated with project managers in both the private and public sectors.  The results are compared against those of previous years and include factors such as remuneration patterns and forecasts, hours worked, candidate selection and the rate of unemployment, which, as a matter of interest and contrary to expectations, has dropped year on year by 5%. According to the report this result indicates that self-employment is the driver, not increased employment opportunities.  These facts provide a unique window into the programme and project management community in the UK.

John believes that the 2012 survey is the best yet. “We have taken the opportunity to use advances in the polling technology software to enhance our data capture and the segmentation of respondents. By breaking the respondents into sub-categories we have been left with a cleaner, more representative data set to analyse.”

The report yields interesting information to both project management professionals looking to benchmark themselves against their peers and employers benchmarking project management positions.  

“These are exciting, changing times and project people have the choice to resist what is new and unknown, or to be an active role-player in what’s to come.  PMSA’s 2012 Biennial National Conference will explore Next Generation Project, Programme and Portfolio Management. It will look at the changing face of the technology, resources, practices, and principles enabling successful projects across the spectrum of industries,” concludes Taryn.

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