IPMA International Project Management Association
26 August 2019 / 9:00

Addressing the legacy of generation “W” (wise), part 5

This blog article is part of a series of interviews of persons that have shaped the International Project Management Association during the past 50 years, by Amin Saidoun.
Interview with Mr. Yuri Kogan, Professor of the Tecnologico de Costa Rica, visiting professor of the INCAE Business School, of the ICAP in Central America, of the UNITEC of Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Peru UDEP INTEC, past-President of  Asociación de Dirección de Proyectos International (International Project  Management Association- IPMA) Costa Rica.

How long have you been working with/for IPMA in various forms?
9 years, having started in 2010.

What were the 5 biggest achievements you remember you contributed to IPMA in your various functions?

  • The creation of the Costa Rica IPMA Association in 2011
  • Acting as president of the association during the first 2 years of its existence (2011-2013), working in different areas (certification, marketing, membership, etc.)
  • The preparation of the different groups for the certification levels D and C in Costa Rica, including my own certifications (level D and level B)
  • Preparation and realization of the International Project Management Championship for the IPMA Latin America Young Crew in Chile in 2018
  • Preparation and realization in a month and a half the IPMC in Mexico (Merida)

What was IPMA’s biggest challenge when you were President and what did you learn from it?
It’s difficult to talk about challenges. Some certifications, some workshops… The first steps. The challenge is getting people to think about projects.

How do you measure success and over what time frame? How are these metrics determined?
Quantity of certifications, the quantity of members, quantity of the participants of the different events. The metrics are defined in terms of specific benefits for IPMA.

If you could be doing anything right now about IPMA, what would it be? Why?
I would work much more with universities (at least in Costa Rica) which are missing a career approach in Project Management carriers. The reason for this is that 10 universities in Costa Rica are offering project management courses. So the potential which a competence-based career approach is high.

If you had to choose only one goal for IPMA to achieve what would it be?
Demonstrate and insist on the difference between the IPMA competence-based approach and other approaches which are mainly knowledge-based regarding the standards they propose.

What is the one thing that made you upset about IPMA?
The behaviour of one of its members.

What is your favourite movie/story? Why?
“The Window” of G.W. Target which is a story. It had a great impact on me, especially regarding leadership and human relations in which I am particularly interested.

What is on your list of personal values? Why?
Justice as this is for me the most important personal value

If money was not an issue, what would you do? Why?
I would spend/invest money in humanitarian projects, especially the one dedicated to education project management, for example developing project management courses in schools

What is the best lesson or moment of insight that you have received while being with IPMA?
The enthusiasm of the IPMA young men and women, especially the ones I experienced in Peru.

What is one thing that you should do differently today? Why?
Embracing and working for IPMA in spite of having worked with PMI during 8 years where I was not able to appreciate and recognize the benefits of IPMA

What is your list of important questions that you would like to find answers to? Why for each one?
I am 79 years old. No questions.

What gets you the most excited in life? Why?
My daughter and grand daughter. They are the citizens of the USA, making our vision come true.

If there was one person that you could meet who would it be? Why?
Jesus Martinez-Almela. He is the same great person, before and during his present presidency of IPMA. And also because I like his excellent sense of humour.

What moment in your life are you the proudest of? Why?
To have achieved that the future of my daughter was taking place in another country than the one I was living earlier.

What is the one thing that you are most scared of doing?
I am scared to meet another culture, especially when I started to live in Latin America. The reason for this is that I am never sure if I meet the expectations of this culture and also because I am scared to offend the people from this culture.

Are you more concerned with today or tomorrow? Why?
I am concerned about tomorrow because of my health. I am also concerned about returning to Ukraine after having lived almost 30 years in Costa Rica, also for health reasons.

What is the most important question that IPMA needs to ask itself?
What makes us so different and particular from others?

What are five things that you know that IPMA should be doing now?
I only know three things:

  • IPMA should continue and intensify the Young Crew approach
  • IPMA should intensify work with universities all over the world
  • IPMA should continue to strengthen soft skills/competences

What is your favourite quote?
Your attitude more than your aptitude is what determines your altitude” by Zig Ziglar.

What is the one fear that IPMA should work on overcoming this year? Why and how?
Reputation. Not only this year. Always. Because we need to become as important as our competitors, as influential as well. We need more advocacy.

If you could give a lot of something, what would it be? Why?
Knowledge and the good attitude as these are for me the most important for anybody.

Mr Yuri Kogan, thank you very much for this interview, and as today is your 79th birthday, feliz cumpleanos!



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Amin Saidoun

Author of this post

Amin Saidoun is Executive Director of International Project Management Association, an international federation of project management associations around the world. Amin Saidoun, is an economist and graduate from London School of Economics and Political Sciences. He is a project manager who gained his 20 years of experience in international projects both in medium sized and multinational organisations in auditing, consulting and the logistics domain. As Executive Director of IPMA, he is in charge of the area Finance and Administration, Business Development of IPMA activities in Africa and the Middle-East and involved is various internal development projects and governance. He is author and co-author on various project management and business administration related articles. Among his areas of interest: intercultural project management