Stop looking for a superhero project manager

I have a memory passed down via family members that as a 9-year old when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded that I wanted to be an expert!   I’m sure my parents find it a very irritating response and would have preferred an answer like doctor or engineer or lawyer!

Whatever I meant at that time, I am pretty clear now, that this is just not possible. Today there is so much information, so many insights and experiences that we need access to as project managers–this cannot possibly dwell in the body and spirit of one person. Karen Stephenson captures it perfectly in her phrase,“I store my [know-how] knowledge in my friends”.

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The stakeholder-led project

City of Cape Town Integrated Rapid Transport (IRT)

As part of the build up to the 2010 FIFA world cup the City of Cape Town embarked on the development of an ambitious new IRT system which would provide bus transport into and across the city.  In phase one the aim was to provide transport links from the airport (addressing the needs of the increased number of international and national passengers) and from selected northern and central areas where roads were increasingly overloaded (addressing citizen’s needs for improved town transport).  The IRT project was a critical infrastructure project and 2010 FIFA gave the city the energy, and publicly recognised urgency needed to get it happening.

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Get a great steering group: Making a real difference on social change projects

Making a real difference on social change projects

domestic-worker1In 2005 according to a government report, two thirds of private money in SA banks belonged to males.  Despite representing over 50% of the population only one third of assets were owned by women, and even less by previously disadvantaged or non-white females. The Presidential working group on Women (PWGW) was set-up to work on issues specific to Women.  A sub-set of this group were tasked with identifying and developing financial solutions specifically suited to the circumstances of women in South Africa, with an aim to empower them and shift the balance of assets.  In particular they would address retirement and investment activism – the development of solutions which would aid this vulnerable group to safely create their own savings for retirement. This is particularly relevant to women who are currently under-represented but who statistically are most likely to live longer and often have many dependencies (particularly grandchildren due to the impact of Aids). Continue reading “Get a great steering group: Making a real difference on social change projects”

Is this why South Africans make great project managers?


One of the delights of taking part in the Success Stories Shared initiative is that you get to hear the stories from projects managers across a whole range of disciplines

I always start the session by asking the manager how they got into project management.  Invariably it turns out to be by chance or by some convoluted series of career and job moves.  Indeed, in my entire career of coaching and interviewing project managers – I’ve only met one person, a woman – who from school had set her mind on being a project manager.  She is now one of the youngest Partners in Deloitte’s!

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