IPMA International Project Management Association
27 November 2017 / 12:13

The great teacher inspires

For an organisation with the vision to promote project management competence throughout society it is good to know that the one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching. This quote is in fact attributed to Aristotle. Project management education, and how we can prepare for complexity and ambiguity, was the theme of a recent workshop in Aarhus University in Denmark.

I had the privilege to participate in this workshop, organised by Timo Leimbach. This was a very useful meeting and according to Nordic tradition it was a combination of presentations and discussions in work groups where the participants shared their different views and tried to reach a common understanding of some of the challenges ahead for project management educators. The participants came from various education institutions, most of them from academia but some came from private project management training companies. Presentations were given by Joana Geraldi from DTU, Julie Goodal from Aarhus University, Constance Kampf from Aarhus University, Henrik Timm from PeakConsult and finally Helgi Thor Ingason and Haukur Ingi Jonasson from Reykjavik University. The presenters  identified a range of topics that were discussed in the workgroups. I will give a few examples to demonstrate the scope of the discussions and some of the core issues that were discussed during this workshop.

  • What might be the impact of AI (artificial intelligence) on project management and the way we teach project management in the future?
  • Do standards and professional bodies of knowledge matter for project managers, project management and project education?
  • Where should project management look for inspiration to inspire new teaching methods and educational strategies?
  • How can we turn the focus away from certifications to courses where the focus is on reflective learning instead of memory learning?
  • How can we develop project management education that continues to stay aligned with graduate experiences in the workplace?
  • Do we include sustainability in our project management teaching? In what way?

I assume that we agree with Aristotle that the power of teaching is the one exclusive sign of thorough project management knowledge. And therefore, we need to facilitate a continuous discussion in the project management community on what to teach. But this is not enough. We also need to discuss how to teach. The world is changing and we need to be open to new teaching approaches and new teaching methods. I really hope that the workshop in Aarhus is just the beginning of a network of engaged and creative project management teachers who will continue to discuss these important topics and share their experiences.

I think it is in order to end this short blogpost with another quotation, this time to William Arthur Ward. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”


  • Sauna Lille says:

    Je voudrai vous féliciter pour le design de votre site et son ergonomie.

  • Hugo Rimada says:

    Hi Helgi:

    I´m an entusiastic intructor of PM since 5 years ago. Every workshop I teach makes me review my material and do it better every day. It´s been a constant evolution, with contents and educational strategies.
    Love use simulations with LEGO, I even consider career and experience of participants to change the simulation. I have more than 10 simulations and more than 150 LEGO CITY sets to choose.
    Is possible for me to have a copy of the presentations? I´ll love to read it and make any contribution if possible.

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Helgi Thor Ingason

Author of this post

Helgi Thor Ingason holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, MSc from the University of Iceland and a SAPM degree from Stanford University. He is a Certified Senior Project Manager by IPMA. Dr. Ingason is an professor at Reykjavik University. He is the co-author of 6 books on management in Icelandic and English. He is a management consultant and a member of the Research Management Board of IPMA.