IPMA International Project Management Association
31 March 2017 / 6:36

Projects and project management in Portugal

Portugal  is a country on the Iberian Peninsula in Southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. To the west and south it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east and north by Spain. During the 15th and the 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military power. Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration in the Age of Discovery, with such notable discoveries as Bartolomeo Dias’s reach of the Cape of Good Hope (1488), the Vasco da Gama’s sea route to India (1497–98) and the discovery of Brazil (1500). A devastating earthquake, triggering a heavy tsunami and a widespread fire destroyed the capital Lisbon and its suburbs. The kingdom did not really recover, and after the country’s occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil (1822), and the Liberal Wars (1828–34), caused Portugal to lose its status as world power. After a revolution in 1910, the first republic was announced, which was later superseded by a right-wing coup. Finally, democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. The independence was granted to almost all of Portugal´s overseas territories. However, the country has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe and a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today.

With a nominal GDP of about 210 billion Euro, Portugal is 45th in the global ranking. Due to an economic crisis triggered by the 2008 global downturn, more than 2 million people left the country (that is about 20% of the population), which has a significant impact on the economy. The great majority of the international trade is done within the European Union (EU), whose countries received 72.8% of the Portuguese exports and were the origin of 76.5% of the Portuguese imports in 2015. Main economic sectors are services (e.g. tourism, trade, logistics and telecommunications) accounting for about 75% of GDP, 23 % are generated by industry (machinery, electrical and electronics, automotive and shipbuilding), and 2.5% is generated by agriculture (e.g. fruits, wine, horticulture and floriculture products). The Portuguese educational system has been in gradual modernization and relative expansion since the 1960s, achieving recognition for its world-standard practices and trends in the 21st century. Portugal is home to several world class universities and business schools that have been contributing for the creation of a number of high renown top international managers and are attracting an increase number of foreign students.

Portugal runs a rich portfolio of small, medium and large projects. The European Investment Bank supports Portugal with a variety of investments, such as supporting SMEs and midcaps in the country, with 17% going to environmental projects and the rest supporting infrastructure and innovation. The European Commission funds several projects related to railway modernization such as Norte and Sintra Railway lines and Lisbon Metro. Other major infrastructure projects in Portugal are conducted in order to expand ports, harbor infrastructure, container terminals, rail links to port etc. In the energy sector major projects are carried out, for example Pelamis, the world’s first commercial wave energy project nearby Agucadoura, and many projects building up capacities in regards to solar power.

The Portuguese Association for Project Management (Associação Portuguesa de Gestão de Projectos – APOGEP) was established in August 1994 and was accepted to IPMA few years later. APOGEP is a non-profit association created to promote and give credibility to the field of project management and support professionals in this area, considering the growing need of the global market for an institution that supports the acquisition of new skills of modern management and that offers a certification in project management. Every year, APOGEP organizes the Project Management Week, seminars and conferences, connecting the new and old generations of project managers to the trends of the profession. Through its voluntary work, APOGEP has been attracting young professionals to the Portuguese Young Crew, promoting and disseminating the Best Practices within the academic and corporate areas, and participating regularely in Global Young Crew Events. Last year the IPMA Global Young Crew Workshop was hosted by APOGEP in the city of Porto.

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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.