V IE WPOIN TS
The economic recovery raises the stakes for project managers.
BY LYNDA BOURNE, DPM, PMP
The upturn in economic fortunes is sparking a radical transformation of both the practice and performance of project management in Asia Pacific.
The most obvious shift is the dramatically expanding
workload. Many economies, including China and
Australia, have committed billions to major infrastructure
Just look at some of the recent megaproject announcements: ExxonMobil’s US$15 billion liquefied natural gas
project in Papua New Guinea; Chevron’s 20-year, US$82 billion gas sales agreement with Tokyo Electric Power Co.,
underpinning the development of a new gas field; and mining magnate Clive Palmer’s plan to sell US$60 billion worth
of Queensland coal to China over the next two decades, supporting the construction of new mines and infrastructure.
Along with all the new projects, there’s the enormous
backlog of work that commercial enterprises put on hold
during the economic downturn and now are finally looking to restart.
This rapidly expanding portfolio of megaprojects is creating
a steadily escalating demand for experienced project managers
just as many are approaching retirement. At the same time,
there has been a major slowdown in the recruitment and training of new project managers because of the economic crisis.
How the portfolio, program and project management
profession responds to these challenges will have a dramatic
ripple effect on the rest of the world. Even a 2 percent
improvement in the efficiency of the overall project-delivery
process translates to trillions of dollars in value.
Jianke Project Management Co., a Shanghai-based
construction consulting company working on the project.
“It is also a demonstration of social responsibility and a
commitment to a harmonious society—China’s new
approach to sustainable lifestyle.”
The megaproject is a concrete example of how the pro-
fession has evolved, too.
“The successful design, construction and management
of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 venue project have gone
much further than the traditional golden triangulation of
time, cost and quality to a ‘five-edge star’ that also includes
sustainability and safety from project stakeholders and life
cycle perspectives,” says Patrick X.W. Zou, PhD, associate
professor and director of construction management and
property programs at the University of New South Wales in
Sydney, Australia, and adjunct chair professor of risk management at Hunan University, Changsha, China.
To fully achieve the aims of Dr. Zou’s five-point star,
project managers must expand their skill set to include
conceptual, technical, human resources and political
We must ensure waste is minimized and social equality
emphasized in even in the smallest project—and that
means tens of thousands of project managers across Asia
Pacific must be trained.
Overall, the signs are promising, with hundreds of new
university courses offering accreditation and thousands of
people taking their Project Management Professional
(PMP)® exams each month. But we can’t rest on our laurels. There is a massive amount of work still needed to
meet the needs of a changed marketplace. PM
ASIA PACIFIC WATCH
The Five-Edge Star
Successfully managing megaprojects in the next decade will
require a much broader view than simply solving time, cost
and engineering issues. It will also include, at a minimum,
meeting defined social and environmental outcomes.
Take China’s Shanghai World Expo 2010 megaproject,
for example, with a construction budget of CNY18 billion.
“Shanghai expo is not only an exhibition of new designs
and intelligent technologies,” says Jack Sun, chairman of
Lynda Bourne, DPM, PMP, is the managing director of
Stakeholder Management pty Ltd. and director of training at
Mosaic Project Services pty Ltd., both in
Australia. Dr. Bourne graduated from the
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology as
the first professional doctor of project management and is the president of the PMI