IPMA International Project Management Association
2 September 2019 / 9:00

Projects and project management in Sweden

The Kingdom of Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north, Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area.

Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times. An independent Swedish state first emerged during the early 12th century. Two hundred years later, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia’s culture, finances and languages, which led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and eventually the Swedish Empire was formed. This became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into a personal union, which peacefully dissolved in 1905. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 openly moved towards cooperation with NATO.

The economy of Sweden is a developed export-oriented economy aided by timber, hydropower, and iron ore. These constitute the resource base of an economy oriented toward foreign trade. Main industries include motor vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, industrial machines, precision equipment, chemical goods, home goods and appliances, forestry, iron, and steel. Sweden is a competitive mixed economy featuring a generous universal welfare state financed through relatively high income taxes that ensures that income is distributed across the entire society, a system sometimes called the Nordic model.

There a major infrastructure projects under way in Sweden, for example the East and the West Link Projects, the Gothenburg-Boras Project. The Swedish Transport Administration is responsible for the largest investments in infrastructure in Sweden, i.e. managing investments of nearly 200 bn SKr. In June 2018, Sweden’s government unveiled the 2018-2029 National Plan for the Transport System, outlining the government´s plans foreseeing a spending of 712.5 bn Skr. on the country’s road, rail, aviation and port infrastructure over the next decade. A lot of projects are also performed in the energy sector. The share of renewable energy used in Sweden keeps growing. Already in 2012 the country reached the government’s 2020 target of 50 per cent. The target is 100 per cent renewable electricity production by 2040, including but not limited to hydro, solar and wind energy…

Project management is well established in Sweden, the Svenskt Projektforum, member of IPMA, was founded in 1968 and from the beginning instrumental for moving the IPMA forward. Nowadays, Svenskt Projektforum is certifying several hundred people in the IPMA 4-Level-Certification System, is facilitating two major conferences a year, a number of special interest groups, the Young Crew and is collaborating with other Scandinavian PM Associations in the so-called “Nordnet”.

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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.