Developing a Program Management Standard

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L-R: Kim Kucinskas, Chris Foster, me, John Cropper, Brandy Westerman, Lucy Davies (not pictured Edson Marinho)

This past week I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of people as we developed the next offering from PM4NGOs – The Guide to the PgMD Pro (Program Management for Development Professionals) standard.

The Guide to the PgMD Pro will be the next step in establishing solid program and project management standards within the Humanitarian Aid/International Development sector. We (PM4NGOs) have had great success with the PMD Pro (both the Guide and certifications) over the past 5 years, and we are excited about this next step.

The picture above shows the beginning of the week-long development session. Admittedly I did not participate in the entire process, but stopped in a few days throughout the week and contributed as I was able. What the picture does NOT show is the room at the end of the week, which included every wall (including the TV and pictures) covered with flip charts, and the back of the door used as a projector screen while the group worked thought the process.

To say that what this group accomplished was impressive would be an understatement. We went into the week with a rough draft of the Guide, feeling that it was maybe 50% complete. Imagine trying to write develop and write 50% of a program management standard in 5 days. Accomplishing that in itself would be a huge feat. Instead, what this group was able to do was even more impressive. In 5 days they managed to break the entire Guide back down to its component pieces and come up with a new structure that is far more useful, easy to understand, and will be eminently more applicable to programs in the sector.

There is still a lot of work still to be done in finalizing the Guide prior to publication, as well as developing the accompanying certification exam, but thanks to the hard work of this group, that timeline has been shortened from what was probably a year, to around 4 months now.

I’m extremely excited to see what the final product looks like, and based off of what I was able to see this week, this new Guide will help bring even more benefits to the managing of projects and programs in Humanitarian and Development projects.

The working group team included:

John Cropper: Director of Project Services – LiNGOs (& PM4NGOs Vice-Chair)
Brandy Westerman: Director of Program Management – Mercy Corps (& PM4NGOs Board Member)
Kim Kucinskas: Program Manager – InsideNGO
Chris Foster: Manager, Strategy Implementation – CMMB
Lucy Davies: Lucy Davies Communication
Edson Marinho: Operations Manager – PM4NGOs
Myself (occasionally): President – Nelson Project Consulting

Initial draft work was done by:

Victor ‘Buck’ Child: Regional Program Manager – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Rich Ormond: Senior NGO Management Professional

Without their efforts, the progress made this week would simply not have been possible.

I will post more updates as we move forward.