IPMA International Project Management Association
26 September 2018 / 9:19

The Norwegian Association of Project Management (NFP) celebrates 50 years

Blog post by Tom Haugstad/NFP


Projects have always been accomplished by organisations dealing with complexities and high level of uncertainties like for instance the Pyramids in Egypt. The notion “project” stems from the Latin “projects” which means something like “throw forward”. In daily words, this means to make a plan, a proposal or draft. Project Management came into existence in the chemical industry just before world war 2. Methods and technique as we know them today were developed in the American defense industry in the nineteen fifties. The first article on the subject was published in 1959 with the title “The Project Manager” (Gaddis, 1959).

From a paper first presented at the NORDNET-IPMA-PMI Conference in 1987 in Reykjavik, Iceland by Morten Fangel under the heading “The Viking approach to project management”, we can read the following introduction: Those involved in future advances in project management can benefit from heeding the wisdom of history, in form of successful management of ancient projects. The Viking age of over one thousand years ago is an example. The lessons learned from studying this epoch are that today’s Nordic project management in many ways reflects the Viking approach and this similarity should be even more significant in the future. Keywords: project management, cross-cultural differences, environment, vision, and objective, organisation, resource allocation, teamwork and ceremonies.” (The complete article can be read in the NFP’s celebrating book “Prosjektledelse i Norge gjennom 50 år”).

Norwegian Association of Project Management

In the spring 1968, some researchers, shipbuilders, and people from the construction industry met. Their common interest in new techniques and modern computers made the lack of a forum to discuss and share ideas and experiences a problem, albeit with an obvious solution. Thus the “Foreningen Prosjektstyring”, now known as “Norsk Forening for Prosjektledelse, NFP) was established 8th of May 1968 with Knut M. Heier as the first president. This was the first Nordic association, and early 1990ties it was local associations in Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim, Kongsberg, and Stord. Full day seminars and “on your way home” afternoon seminars were arranged together with newsletters and later magazines for members. Todays “Prosjektledelse” has thus a long history with four editions yearly, and as from #3 this year it will only be issued in electronic format.


NFP, together with NIF (now Tekna – The Norwegian Professional Engineering Association), started in 1989 to develop a profession certificate for engineers, and Per Willy Hetland received the PDC-certificate (Professional Development Certificate) in 1989 as the first certified in Norway. Many countries in Europe had developed corresponding certificates in parallel, and at the INTERNET conference (INTERnational NETwork, now IPMA) in Florence 1992 the decision was made to develop a common certifying for Europe. Norway was very active in this process with Jorunn Wolstad as NFP’s representative. A draft was sent to the Member Associations prior to the INTERNET conference 1994 for approval. Discussions continued, however, in two more years before agreement and signature at the Henley Management College in England in November 1996. The first official IPMA Body of Knowledge (ICB) is signed in 1999.

IPMA arrangements in Norway

The first NORDNET conference arranged in Norway was held in 1984 with the title “Project Management – a Profession”. This was the start of several conferences under the umbrella NORDNET, under which the Nordic cooperation developed further.

Norway was the host of the INTERNET (IPMA) World Congress 1994 “Dynamic leadership through project management”. The conference was opened by Her Majesty Queen Sonja, with 470 participants who could select presentations from 40 countries in four parallel streams.

In September 2011 the Council of Delegates and Certification Sounding Panel had their meetings in Drammen, Norway. At that point in time, there were 60 member associations in IPMA and thus over 100 delegates in total.

50 years celebration

As the main element in the celebration of 50 years, a celebration book which recalls the last 50 years development of Project Management seen through NFP has been made. The book (unfortunately mostly in Norwegian) demonstrate the issues which have been in focus all these years, many of them still valid and still of current interest.

A full day seminar was arranged 14th of June 2018 consisting of both lectures and workshops. The main theme was about “Practical Project management” with elements prior to project start and to the very end with handover to client and implementation of the project. The workshops dealt with the dialog with stakeholders, handling changes and how to realize the benefits from the project. The last workshop had the following title “There are human beings in projects too, and how do we handle them?”


NFP has a fruitful cooperation with The Norwegian Computer Association were we arrange Special Interest Group on different themes together. As a result, there are held common half-day seminars especially about “benefits management”.

The IPMA certification is now handled by Norsk Sertifisering AS as the Certification body. Norsk Sertifisering AS is a well-acknowledged certification organ who handles certification of people from management and safety as well as quality-systems hand health. From January 2018 the certification is being performed according to the ICB4 and is offered in English as well as Norwegian.

With an active board with a broad and diversified collection of professionals, NFP is looking forward to the next 50 prosperous years in contribution to the development of Project Management.

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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.