PM FlashBlog 2014 – North America

pmflashblog2014Last September, Australian blogger Shim Marom rounded up eighty project management bloggers, and got us all to publish a post on the same topic, at the same time, in a coordinated effort. It was dubbed The PM Flashblog, and we even collected the blogs into an electronic book, available for download. Now: Welcome to the second round of the PM FlashBlog! Over fifty project management bloggers will each release a post about their view of project management, as practiced in their part of the world. Beginning with North America, then followed by Europe and Australia, bloggers will post their articles each Monday at 01:00 GMT for several weeks, until we have gone around the world.

The following blogs were posted as part of the Second PM FlashBlog, Week 1: North America.

  • Toby Elwin shares the state of project management at the hub of the world (we know it as Boston).
  • Rich and Dave at Earth PM give the update from New England, through a green lens.
  • Naomi Caietti reports from Northern California, with a special emphasis on helping women succeed in project management.
  • The Practicing IT Project Manager (me) gave the view from beautiful, ever-evolving Las Vegas.
  • Ivan Rivera reported on the challenges of managing projects for local municipalities in Mexico (in English and Spanish).
  • Michel Dion told of how an accidental project manager pursues excellence in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • Mark Phillipy, who organized this PM Flashblog, gave us the state of project management maturity in Spokane, Washington.
  • Cheri Essner lives near Toronto, but she gave an excellent overview of PMI’s activities across Canada.
  • Robert Kelly dialed in from Raleigh, North Carolina to give his analysis of project management as a function, as an opportunity, and as a discipline.
  • Glen Alleman came down from the mountains of Boulder, Colorado to reiterate the five core practices and processes of performance-based project management.
  • Don Kim closed out this round from Los Angeles, California with his view of the project-based entrepreneur, or intrapreneur.

Next week, we’ll get the project management news and view from Europe. Stay tuned!

Project Management: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

This post is part of the second world-wide #PMFlashBlog event, “Project Management Around the World.” Each of us is writing about the current state of project management in our own locale, published on a staggered schedule over the next few weeks. This is my contribution, Project Management: Las Vegas.

Last year, Project Management Institute (PMI) tasked the Anderson Economic Group to follow up on a set of forecasts originally developed in 2008, in an attempt to project the worldwide growth of the project management profession. Their study identified seven industries – construction, utilities, manufacturing, business services, finance and insurance, oil and gas, and information services – that will drive rapid growth. The report estimates that this decade will see the creation of over 15 million new project management roles globally, and annual growth in U.S. demand for qualified project managers by over 12%. The PMI study expects there will be over six million workers in project management roles in the United States by 2020, managing trillions of dollars in projects each year. Of course, Nevada has a slightly different mix of businesses, and consequently a slightly different outlook.

Project Management: Las Vegas

Las Vegas has never been a center for manufacturing, finance and insurance, information services, business services, or oil and gas. Prior to the Great Recession, Nevada had three primary industries: mining, gaming and hospitality, and construction. The growth in gaming and hospitality over the last sixty years also drove the growth in our population, and most of the heavy construction. Our population grew from 285 thousand in 1960, to 1.2 million in 1990, to 2.7 million in 2010. Consequently, residential housing, public utility, and civil engineering construction continued, even through the downturn. Today, planned expansions and renovations of casino resorts are in the news, as is the ongoing renovation of downtown Las Vegas, led by Zappos and a few other visionary local companies. We’re once again seeing a lot of demand for project managers with construction and civil engineering experience, in addition to those with experience in corporate IT and the gaming and mining industries.

There’s one other expected growth segment in the United States: health care projects. Whatever you might think of the Affordable Care Act, it is proving to be a driver for employment among those prepared to help drive costs out of health care delivery. PMI expects the annual growth rate for health care project manager positions to be about 30%. Here in Las Vegas, we have a mix of software vendors, hospitals, and managed care providers with over twenty open requisitions for project managers. We often say that to get the best medical care in Las Vegas, you have to go to the airport, but it looks like these folks are serious about driving change.

Our Evolving Processes

As for our processes: it’s been interesting to watch the growth of Agile methods in software and manufacturing industries. We’ve embraced Scrum, Kanban, and various other approaches, with greater or lesser success, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Of course, we’ve also gotten much better at stakeholder management and change management in general. Another interesting trend is a focus on measuring ROI as a part of project portfolio management, rather than simply estimating it in order to get funding. I’ve recently seen two local projects cancelled because the ROI wasn’t going to warrant completing them. We’re also getting better at risk management, but not in all industries. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with the Harmon Hotel, which is uninhabitable due to construction errors, but impossible to either repair or implode without risking other billion-dollar buildings.

Looking Ahead

Ivanpah Solar Plant

Ivanpah Solar Plant

I have a lot of hope for the continued growth of project management in Las Vegas. The local PMI chapter has an excellent mix of folks from different employers, including government and industry. We have a young, diverse work force, and a lot of visionaries like Tony Hsieh of Zappos and the folks behind the Ivanpah solar power site. And of course, we have over 40 million visitors every year – thank you for supporting our economy!

The PM FlashBlog 2013 e-Book Available for Download


Fellow blogger PM FlashBlogAllen Ruddock has compiled fifty of the seventy blogs posted in the PM FlashBlog on September 25, 2013 into an e-Book, in PDF format. Shim Marom, who organized the event, wrote the forward. This global event was the first of it’s kind, with participation by project management bloggers all over the world. The subject we all wrote about was, “What Project Management Means to Me: A Project Manager’s Sermon.” If you’d like to peruse the posts without having to click on a whole lot of links, this is a convenient way to do it. Just click on the “Download” icon, below.