Governance goes to China
Posted by APM on 12th Aug 2013
6th China Project Management Application and Practice Forum 2013 in Beijing
I was privileged to be asked to deliver the keynote speech at the 6th China Project Management Application and Practice Forum 2013 in Beijing on 5 / 6 July. The conference strap line was Management by Project at the Age of Innovation.
Approximately 700 delegates attended the event held entirely in Chinese my input on Governance was delivered in English and translated. However the level of English speaking was pretty good my first question in the Q&A after my presentation was delivered in English phew.
I had been to Beijing 27 years previously - but what a change over that period! Admittedly my previous visit was in autumn and this time summer. It was 34 degrees and pretty much uninterrupted sun - and good air quality as the week before a storm cleared the smog! 27 years ago as a youngster with a bushy beard, I was quite a novelty and received lots of stares and interest from the locals. Now as a semi-bald European, nobody batted an eyelid!
I was made extremely welcome by my Chinese hosts from the PMRC. As the only non-Chinese in the speaker line up I was treated like royalty - requested to make an introductory speech and also carrying out award presentation duties to a number of PM practitioners from Chinese organisations.
Unfortunately all the plaques presented were written in Chinese so I had no idea whether the right plaques were going to the correct person to everyones amusement much swapping of plaques followed the formal presentations!
Unfortunately, like all major cities around the world, traffic problems abound. But we have lots to learn from the Chinese. In the 34-36 degree heat out and about in Beijing the best place to escape into the cool is the underground - air conditioned underground trains were a pleasure to escape to and ride in. And if you drive a motorbike, the pavements provide the ability to bypass the traffic jams effectively - a bit scary after dark for pedestrians when many people still drive without their headlights on and the green motorbikes are electric and make no noise! Basic governance questions / rules and discussion about the intended use of pavements fell on deaf ears!
Judging by the comments I received then the APM SIG take on governance gave the audience food for thought. I got the impression that the concept of project management was really taking off in China in a number of industries but many organisations were struggling under the weight of trying to do too many projects. So the idea of prioritisation through structured portfolio management and the senior management needing to get more engaged in project management via governance got some of the audience very excited.
The audience was made up of practitioners from industry and a number of academics and also consultants. I am grateful to my hosts from China and APM for facilitating the opportunity and experience.