We asked: What skills or training could help project
managers in Vietnam reach the next level?
managers are weak
at coordination, both
horizontal and vertical,
and monitoring. This
is where they need
—Hien Thi Nguyen, project consultant, rural water and sanitation
project for Central Region, Asia Development Bank, Hanoi
Views From Vietnam
building licenses, land ownership, permits and proof of concept, Mr. Olive says.
“By keeping up to date with legislation and addendums, the project manager can
ensure more timely approvals from the authorities,” he says.
Foreign companies can facilitate such engagement by partnering with local
firms or hiring local talent—which also ensures the size and the scope of each
project meets new rules, Mr. Biswas says. “Their regulations are complicated
and always changing, so companies need to find experts who have a strong
understanding of the Vietnamese system and how it operates,” he says. “There
are a lot of opportunities but there is also a lot of bureaucracy. But many foreign
multinationals have already invested in major projects in Vietnam for many
years, and it will get easier over time.”
Mr. Olive says most of the Vietnamese talent on his teams lack experience
with project management. “They come to us with solid engineering educa-
tion and we train them in our project management methods,” he says. Despite
the added training costs, hiring local talent has long-term benefits for project
teams—and Vietnam, he says. “You have to localize your team both to lower
costs, and to ensure you get buy-in from staff and local stakeholders,” he says.
Despite obstacles, the country’s economic promise—and project management potential—is real, Mr. Cong says.
“The demand for projects and project management is for sure growing. The
attitude has changed significantly. That’s good news for Vietnam—and project
management practitioners.” PM
“They need fully rounded
experience and an understanding
of modern practices in design,
planning, and health and safety.
Soft skills such as interpersonal
skills and sensitivity to multiple
cultures are also very important.”
—Mark Olive, general manager, Arcadis, Ho Chi Minh City
“Communication management is very important.
Having an IT system to organize and manage
project information resources can help a lot.”
—Phuc Dinh Cong, PMP, project engineer, Turner Construction, Hanoi
already invested in
major projects in
Vietnam for many
years, and it will get
easier over time.”
—Rajiv Biswas, IHS Global Insight, Singapore