Part of #PMFlashBlog from the reality of Project Management in Spain.
I would ask you to take time and think about the topic while having a coffee and go over the state of the Project Management in Spain, particularly in the building construction sector.
Over the last few days, a lot has been written about the failed candidature of Madrid to organize the 2020 Olympic Games. The candidate cities were Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo, where in the end, will be held. Congrats Tokyo! I use the word “failed” because for a lot of the Spanish citizens it was a very big disappointment that Madrid has not been chosen to organize such an important worldwide event.
On the internet, the failed candidature was summed up in a sentence spoken by the Mayor of Madrid during the presentation of IOC: “There is nothing quite like a relaxing cup of Café con Leche in Plaza Mayor!”. For a lot of internet surfers, the work and preparation prior to the election wasn´t Olympic standards, except the magnificent speech from the Prince of Asturias and Pau Gasol.
However , for analysts, the most important factors for the failing the candidature for Madrid 2020 were the economic recession, the bad news about political corruption, and doping in sport. The Spanish Brand doesn´t exist the way the Spanish understand it, and outside the “Planet Football”, Madrid is a place to set the epicenter of financial downfall and political corruption.
In this, not so motivated environment in which we work in Spain, without a lot optimistic future or traces of an economic improvement, the Spanish candidature was, for a lot of Spanish citizens a cause of national pride, rather than a ray of hope.
But that Madrid lost an Olympic candidature for the third consecutive, affected by the recession and corruption is only a symptom. The illness is worse. We have got used the mediocrity, lack of excellence, lack of competitiveness, and this illness affects the conditions in which the Project Managers do their work in Spain.
State of Project Management in Spain
The economic sector that stand out in Spain for the use of PM is Information Technology, with multinational Anglo-Saxon companies which work on projects.
The Spanish construction companies, most of them small and medium sized, are not used to the PM figure. In the best of cases, they have been using the function of “controller” (project monitoring). The so called professionals which were called “project manager” and which were not trained to be so, were just spectators, middle people or simple commission holders. This was seen as a great disadvantage for the Spanish construction sector and was a burden on the qualified and trained PMs.
With the real estate bubble, the building sector has been reduced vastly. The majority of working companies have had to let off a big part of their staff, PMs included, which the professionals that are left are centered on limited aspects of Project Management: scope, schedule and costs, without having time for developing the rest of processes involving a project. Under these circumstances the companies opt for reducing expenses and consider the figure “project manager” without training, dispensable, while adding no value to the end project.
In this bad situation we are coming across recent unemployed workmates or working under pressure in a “just about running companies”. It´s very difficult to ask these PMs to have a positive attitude in meetings where they are talking about stopping projects in kill point time. It´s also difficult to find professionals who worry about the use of their language most often causing complaints which lead to their workmates job performance. The PMs influence their team workers who are programmed to mediocrity and fail.
I coincide with Alfonso Bucero, who describes in a personal way in his book “Today is a Good Day”, that it´s difficult to find PMs who confront this unknown situation, to find braveness to confront their fears and develop their potential as a team leader. We are in lack of professionals who can maintain a positive attitude and have passion, are persistent and patient so the project turns out well. Not because they are bad professionals but are part of organizations which have no get up a go, and is more worried out becoming bankrupt rather than doing the project in the correct way.
But let not get used to this situation, nor fall into despair. We can see a ray of hope for the Project Management, even in these difficult times. Pushed, among other things, into this real estate recession, a lot of professionals have discovered with the help of international organizations like PMI, a career like PMs which allows them to stand out and helps them to look for jobs both in and outside our borders. In this aspect the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter is one of the biggest growing in number of members which is registered in the world.
This fact has another side to Spanish companies. They are asking for qualified professionals on international standards, such as PMP, which helps to compete overseas. The PM should be, and is now showing, that it´s a good tool to have to go overseas and get closer to well know ways of working in Anglo-Saxon areas. The Project Manager is starting to be seen as an extra, who is not just a controller, and starts to manage a full project. The PM is beginning to have its impact on company strategy.
It would be naive to think that Spain will come out of the recession thanks to Project Management. But I´m convinced that at least it will make us change our outlook, and demonstrate that our companies are above political improvisation.
As PMs we cannot avoid the inevitable, or avoid events in the projects. However, we can change our attitude to reality. In this, each and every one of us as PMs are responsible for our attitude. Each and every of us have an opportunity every day to confront reality with a construction and positive attitude. Thanks Alfonso!
I think that the PM attitude reflects on all the team. It determines the results of the project. As leaders we should have passion, be persistent and have enough patience to make it easy for the team to develop their skills.
Isn´t being a Project Manager the best job in the world?.
Cheers, Today is a good day!
P.S. This post is published as part of a first ever project management related global blogging initiative to publish a post on a common theme at exactly the same time. Seventy four (74!) bloggers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA have committed to make a blogging contribution and the fruit of their labour is now (literally NOW) available all over the web.
The complete list of all participating blogs is found here: http://list.ly/list/7Or-pmflashblog-contributors
So please go and check them out!