IPMA International Project Management Association
10 March 2021 / 11:00

IBM and IPMA have signed a co-operation agreement to provide content in the field of project management for the Skills-build programme

The co-operation between large multi-national co-operations and non-profit organisations is a vast and interesting topic for both researchers and practitioners.
The benefits such a co-operation can provide are numerous.

As underlined by some authors*, non-profit organizations (NPOs) confront competitive pressures derived from complex economic and societal challenges.  In their article, the authors underline that NPOs capacity to fulfill their mission increasingly depends on developing successful alliances with key external and internal stakeholders, including co-operations with large for-profit organisations.
On the other hand, large multination organisations are faced with pressure and expectations from their shareholders, especially in the field of corporate social responsibility which forms a critical part of their perception in the larger public. Some of the larger public are shareholders and some are consumers of the companies products and services. In this context, many large multinational companies have engaged in the implementation of sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations (https://sdgs.un.org/goals). These goals are an integral part of the companies’ CSR policy.

Taking the example of IBM (www.ibm.com), the American multinational technology company based in Armonk, New York, and which operates in 170 countries, committed to the sustainable development goal “quality education” by creating a programme called “Skillsbuild” (www.skillsbuild.org). The IBM programme connects adult learners with a curated path of job-focused learning, supported by organisations that address their specific needs, free skills Job and career path learning.
IPMA (www.ipma.word) a professional non for profit organisation based in Zürich (Switzerland) and that operates in over 70 was chosen by IBM as one of these organisations proving project management skills and competences to adult learners. The curricula of basic project management modules are being developed by both IBM and IPMA teams which are working for many months together for the benefit of the public at large. The teams also work for the benefit of both organisations which are keen to implement their strategic objectives outlined above.
Therefore IBM and IPMA signed a collaboration agreement in January 2021 which illustrates the potential of bringing the NPO and the business world closer together.
Over the past months, the collaboration between the remote teams based in Europe and the US has shown that project competence elements such as communication, resourcefulness, culture and values, leadership, and negotiation play a key role in the advancement of the project. It is precisely some of these competence elements that form part of the IPMA individual competence baseline that is reflected in the bundles of the Skills build programme of IBM. It will help persons undertaken the basic course in project management to enhance their employability in the labour market. It will also enable them to deepen at a later stage their project management skills and competence in case they would like to undertake an IPMA certification after dedicated training with IPMA registered training partners.

The skills build programme which was created well before the pandemic Covid 19 context has shown how important such programme are to enable long life learning for many segments of the population. After adult and young people, IBM will develop a special bundle of project management courses for small and medium businesses which are critical as they form the mast majority of employments/jobs around the world.

The signing of the IBM-IPMA co-operations agreement in one particular field is hopefully just the beginning of a long and common journey. Let’s keep the project move forward and great thanks to the project teams of IBM and IPMA.



*Alvarez-Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Rey-Garcia and Sanzo-Perez (BRQ Business Research Quarterly Volume 20, Issue 2, April–June 2017, Pages 112-123)

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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.