IPMA International Project Management Association
22 July 2016 / 5:34

It’s child’s play to manage projects

Project management is a serious profession. It developed over time and there are many possibilities of getting higher education, training and certification in the field. Somehow all this make us believe that we need to study hard to be successful. However, Daniel Defoe wrote in “An Essay upon Projects” (1697) that the “the honest projector is he who, having by fair and plain principles of sense, honesty, and ingenuity brought any contrivance to a suitable perfection…” So we carry already from the early stages of our childhood capabilities to get things done. In Germany, we have identified the Secondary School and Vocational Training as an interesting area for offering regarding project management. In Secondary School the learning is in Germany organised in form of projects. For example, the research into nature as well as organizing an event or an excursion are great opportunities of applying project management approaches in real practice. The German Project Management Association (GPM) offers for the youth a simple guide in form of a comic and training materials for teachers. The key challenge is to provide relevant know-how to the teachers as they typically are not prepared for such a topic. This is why GPM – besides the training materials – provide special lectures for teachers to understand the foundations of project management, based on the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline.

I even started working with kids in an earlier stage of their development using Lego. It´s very challenging to explain project management to kids at the age of 6 – 10. You need to use a simple language and demonstrate things practically. For example, the question how long it takes to build the house according to the manual helps them to understand time planning and estimation. Most important for them is the social part of project-related work. It is the first time they need to cooperate and lead, establish proper communication and teamwork. It´s a great experience to see how those “natural talents” manage projects and achieve their results. It is promising to see their eyes sparkling with joy. They are our future, so let´s engage with the youth in order to achieve our vision: “Promoting competence throughout society to enable a world in which all projects succeed”!

PS: It´s not only child´s play for the youth, but also for adults! Lego offers “Serious Play” for all those wanting to enhance innovation and business performance: www.seriousplay.com



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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.