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Safe and sound - Is it possible?

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At a recent round table into the future direction of project management qualifications, concerns were raised about the number of qualifications and the lack of joined-up thinking when plotting the development path of qualified and future project professionals.

How could this myriad of qualifications be focused to contribute to a single standard that would be universally recognised throughout the profession?

The view from the assembled panel was that the current system works against us. Too much emphasis is placed on achieving qualifications that simply tick the right boxes but, in actual fact, do very little to add lasting value.

The resulting, qualified project manager is not only damaging to the long-term aspirations of the profession but also potentially dangerous, as without the correct knowledge of when and where to apply the theory, the consequences of their actions could potentially lead to charges of gross negligence or worse.

This leads us neatly onto Project's letters page this month.

APM Honorary Fellow Albert Lester calls for a general adoption of safety to the triangle model of cost, time and quality/performance. He argues that safety, unlike the other criteria on the corners of the triangle, is a non-negotiable.

His point: any diminution of safety can quickly lead to disaster, death and even the closure of an organisation. BP take note.

For project management, this raises some interesting questions: just how do we identify a competent person? And in practice, just how does this competency translate when extra safety means extra cost and delay?

Im looking forward to airing the debate in our July issue when we feature a number of responses to Alberts letter and in the August/September issue when we aim to cover the debate in more detail.

In the meantime, please read the letters in the current edition and dont be shy in putting forward your views on what is an extremely important issue for the reputation and credibility of our profession.


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