by Taryn van Olden

PMSA

International Project Management Day and the PMSA Excellence Awards

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International Project Management Day is the brainchild of PM thought leader Frank Saladis, and takes place on the first Thursday of November each year. It is celebrated around the world with events such as knowledge sharing, community service and plain old fun.

In celebration of International Project Management Day in South Africa, Project Management South Africa organised events for its members in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Gauteng: Going places with the Gautrain

Project managers never get tired of hearing about this landmark project, which is ongoing as new plans are laid for its expansion across the province.

An intimate group was treated to a presentation by and conversation with Jack van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer for the Gautrain Management Agency, who, together with a huge team of local and international professionals, has taken the Gautrain project from conception in 2000 to the success it is today. Jack has been described as “a visionary who is capable of steering the project in the right direction”.

Throughout Jack’s entertaining and absorbing presentation, “Communication is key” was the recurring message. The presentation took the attendees through the progression of the project, from conception in 2000 to achieving the first major milestone, which was the completion of the OR Tambo International Airport to Sandton section just days before the start of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Jack pointed out that the number of passengers using the Gautrain has increased beyond expectations, necessitating the installation of additional coaches and extended operating hours on some of the lines.

Plans are currently going ahead for the construction of several new lines which, on completion, will cover a large portion of Gauteng.

Such is the success of the project’s customer service and communications initiatives that the project has been the recipient of a number of international and national awards.

Western Cape: Looking to the skies with the SKA

Meanwhile, in the Western Cape, another major project triumph for South Africa was being celebrated, offering attendees the chance to attend a presentation by Meerkat Project Manager Willem Esterhuyse at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) offices in Pinelands.

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research and development towards building and delivering a radio telescope, and will deliver a correspondingly transformational increase in science capability when operational.

Willem Esterhuyse is currently the Meerkat Project Manager at SKA and was the Project Manager for SALT (South African Large Telescope), responsible for the telescope structure and dome, with their associated control systems. He took the audience through the nuts and bolts and processes involved in managing an innovative and landmark project of this kind.

KwaZulu-Natal: Formalising the PMO

In KwaZulu-Natal on International Project Management Day, the topic of the day was the Project Management Office (PMO) and steps to implementing them in the manner most likely to result in success. Research has shown that nearly half of all strategic initiatives are reported as unsuccessful. PMOs are constantly being questioned as to the value they provide and project office managers are forever having to sell themselves to their CEOs to justify their existence. While doing all of this, organisations of all sizes, in all industries, are finding that getting their PMOs to deliver projects successfully is more and more challenging.

Guy Jelley, co-founder and CEO of Project Portfolio Office, shared practical examples and simple lessons about how some of their clients have got it right and are adding value to their organisations.

And with that, another International Project Management Day drew to a close and those who participated in events around the world returned to their deadlines and milestones, hopefully a little refreshed and inspired by what they and their peers around the world are accomplishing.

PMSA Excellence Awards

Project Management South Africa is rolling out its Excellence Awards Programme again and is inviting nominations by the end of March 2015.

The Awards are run in two categories, Excellence in Research, and the Exceptional Project Management Awards (EPMAs). The former seeks to recognise the contribution of academics to the body of knowledge for project management, while the latter is designed to showcase and reward exceptional projects and the teams that delivered them.

All EPMA entries should meet certain basic criteria in terms of good practice; winners will be judged according to the project element that makes it exceptional. The submission eligibility requirements and process are listed below and an Awards Programme document is available from the PMSA website. The PMSA National Office is also available to guide candidates through the process. Here are three good reasons to enter:

1) Your work will be evaluated by your peers; successful submissions will be acknowledged on a public platform by an autonomous and credible professional body.

2) Winners will be showcased by PMSA in their publications and at an awards ceremony.

3) You will be adding to a growing local body of knowledge supporting good practices and the project excellence inherent in southern Africa.

Submission rocess

Any interested and eligible entrant may download the PMSA EPMA Guidelines and Entry Form and complete their entry as stipulated.

Entrants should complete the entrant checklist to ensure all material is included in their entry parcel. Entry parcels must be delivered to the PMSA National Office by close of business (16:00) on the deadline date.

For non-PMSA members, entry parcels must be accompanied by proof of payment of the entry fee.

Entrants will receive a signed receipt on delivering their entry parcel.

Judging of entries will take place over a two-month period.

The Award recipients will be informed of their success one month prior to the PMSA National Conference. They will not be advised if they have won a Merit or Exceptional Project Award until the ceremony.

Award recipients will be interviewed for press releases and publication across the various PMSA channels. The deadline for submissions is Monday, 23 March 2015, and the winners will be announced in May 2015.

Rules and eligibility

Entrants may submit more than one entry for different projects. Eligible projects are those that reached completion at some point during the two-year period prior to the closing, i.e. in 2014, eligible projects are those that reached completion between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014. (Note: the project needn’t have run between those dates, just reached completion at a point during the specified two-year period.) Entries are invited from both PMSA members and non-members. Submission is free to members but non-members pay a non-refundable fee of R500.Projects delivered by companies or project teams based in sub-Saharan Africa are eligible. These projects may have been implemented anywhere in the world; however, the project capability must be local, i.e. must have been managed and resourced in sub-Saharan Africa.

Projects can be in any industry, public or private sector. Project delivery, benefit, result or management must be considered by the project sponsor/client/owner to be above average in some regard.

Entries must provide the information required to judge on the extent to which they realised strategy, delivered end-user benefit and displayed application of project management practices according to a defined methodology (globally recognised or customised). Good or acceptable practice in this regard is considered the first phase of evaluation. The project and/or the project management practices applied will also be judged according to the overall impact of the project in the southern African context, in terms of one or more of the following: sustainability; green practices, job creation; skills transfer; innovation; overcoming adversity; or similar characteristics considered to be value-adding in the specific industry.

Explanation: As this is the crux of the competition, some further explanation is required to articulate the intent. The “unique” or “exceptional” characteristic can apply in one of the following ways: “Project” characteristics which were exceptional—this implies that project management was conducted in a manner consistent with industry standards, but that the outcome of the project achieved an exceptional result.

“Project Management” characteristics were exceptional—unique/innovative practices were applied to the project management process/method to achieve an ordinary result/overcome typical or unusual challenges or constraints.

Entrants must have the necessary written permissions from clients, agencies or any relevant stakeholder to share details of the project and for these to be published in an article showcasing winners. Project sponsors will be contacted for verification. The project must have reached completion within the stipulated time-frame. Two copies of the entry are required and entries must meet submission deadlines. Entries, with all required documentation and permissions, must be delivered to the PMSA National Office by the closing date. No emails or faxes will be accepted. Entries must include all required elements, as per the entry guidelines. The professional practices by the submitting person must conform to PMSA’s Code of Ethics. Non-members will be required to sign a PMSA Code of Ethics. Entries are not returnable and PMSA reserves the right to use them for publication, publicity and display. Awards will be made solely at the discretion of the judges and judges’ decisions are final.

Call (011) 257-8003 or email awards@projectmanagement.org.za for assistance.

Taryn van Olden

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