IPMA International Project Management Association
4 November 2019 / 8:00

Addressing the legacy of generation “W” (wise), part 8

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 Gilles Caupin, Honorary Fellow of IPMA, co-founder of AFITEP, Association Française de Management de Projet and SMAP, Société de Management de Projets based in Paris.

How long have you been working with/for IPMA in various forms?
My first interaction with IPMA, which was known at that time as INTERNET, goes back to my participation at a technical seminar in Zürich in 1971.
I became more intimately involved with IPMA affairs in the early ’80s, when I was a founding member of AFMP (Association Française de Management de Projet) which entered in the INTERNET network. In 1982, I was also a founding member of AFITEP. AFITEP and AFMP merged after a few years.
After the governance difficulties, followed by financial problems, encountered by AFITEP, I was a founding member of SMaP, which, after some time, replaced AFITEP as member of IPMA
Since the early ’80s, I systematically represented the French association in IPMA business until my retirement from that role during the present decade. I contributed in various functions: Vice-President, President, Chairman of the Council, Chairman of the CVMB, member of various other boards, etc.

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

  • Transformation of IPMA from a network of European national leaders in project management into an active worldwide federation of national PM professional associations with its own activities and budget
  • Conceptualization, design and implementation of a common framework for competence certification on a worldwide basis, including a competence baseline (ICB) and assessment regulations (ICRG)
  • Running a global certification system including the validation of the independent national certification systems
  • Transformation of an initial German initiative into a global Project Excellence Model

What was IPMA’s biggest challenge when you were President and what did you learn from it?
When I started as president, the delegates to our meetings mainly represented themselves as leaders or key actors of national groups and sometimes associations. The real challenge was to transform the COD into an assembly really involving the national associations and initiating cooperation projects.
Lesson learned: personal contacts are key to progress, but it is not enough to ensure group involvement

How do you measure success and over what time frame? How are these metrics determined?
Success is measured by how well you contribute to the advancement of affairs for the public good. Significant metrics are hard to define. It could be how well our MAs influence the competence of project management personnel in their geographical area

If you could be doing anything right now about IPMA, what would it be? Why?
I am now too far away from the present IPMA context to contribute usefully.

If you had to choose only one goal for IPMA to achieve what would it be?
I am now too far away from the present IPMA context to contribute usefully

What is the one thing that made you upset about IPMA?
The difficulty to make move together so many people from so different cultures and values. Every move takes a lot of time!

What is on your list of personal values? Why?
Openness to others and respect of different cultures. It helps to get positive view as regard others  and try to understand all what they can bring and share.

If money was not an issue, what would you do? Why?
Try to help discouraged persons in defining and achieving their goals during their life on earth

What is the best lesson or moment of insight that you have received while being with IPMA?
English, as our working language, is not always completely mastered by interlocutors so it was not always easy to make sure they understand what I wanted to say.
The importance of words, that can be understood differently, even if we think we speak the same language like in my case French.

What is one thing that you should do differently today? Why?
Give more attention to others people opinion so that I am more open. I had the chance no to live the war that others did not.

What is your list of important questions that you would like to find answers to? Why for each one?

  • What is the sense of life? Because we need to understand why we do what we do
  • Why are we destroying homo sapiens? Because we need to find means not to kill life on earth
  • How can we avoid wars? Because this helps us to maintain peace
  • What can we do to fight against poverty? Because too poor people cannot find their place in our world

What gets you the most excited in life? Why?
Love and openness. It helps to have a positive view of others and to trust others.

If there was one person that you could meet who would it be? Why?
Pope Francis, for his inspiration

What moment in your life are you the proudest of? Why? How can you duplicate more of these moments?
I am proud to have contributed to the establishment of the competence certification system and to the transformation of a club of friends to an organisation of associations.

Are you more concerned with today or tomorrow? Why?
Today is the most important. We need to understand what is going on today and define our actions to contribute to the improvement of tomorrow’s situation, understanding that there are so many unknowns for the future

What is the most important question that IPMA needs to ask itself?
How to develop a sustainable development of project management worldwide respecting the different cultures

If you could give a lot of something, what would it be? Why?
Love. It is the most essential thing man can give.

Thank you for the interview.

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Author of this post

Amin Saidoun is Executive Director of International Project Management Association, an international federation of over 72 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 25 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. He is 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, leadership and digital transformation.