Why We Need a PMP To Be President

In late 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed after two men, Jim Snyder and Gordon Davis, came up with the idea in Philadelphia, PA. Through years of growth, research and education, PMI has set the global standard for Project Management worldwide. in various disciplines in the business world and academia, in both public and private sectors. The first certification for Project Managers occurred in October of 1984 when 43 candidates of 56 passed the exam and received the much-coveted Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. (Webster, F.M. (1994). Project management certification: the history. PM Network, 8(11), 24-25). Since 1969, we've had nine Presidents of the United States. Since 1984, when we saw the first PMP, we've had six Presidents of the United States.

What do both timelines have in common? Not one PMP was elected President of the United States. Interestingly, not one PMP was a party nominee for President of the United States! Still, since 1969 of the nine Presidents of the United States, four of them were attorneys and since 1984, two of the six were attorneys. While that might not seem a strong enough case for a PMP to run a successful campaign and be elected President, it should be noted that since 1776, the breakdown of previous experience for Presidents of the United States shows that an overwhelming percentage have been attorneys! According to the Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_presidents_of_the_United_States_by_previous_experience#By_the_numbers), twenty six Presidents were previously attorneys, four taught at universities, twenty two had previous military experience (with nine being Generals in the U.S. Army) and all but five held some form of public office.

It almost seems like it is a requirement to either be an attorney or be a Veteran. While both previous experiences and occupations are honorable, the skills and continuous training of PMPs must be considered. As a point of interest, you can look at the memberships of many PMI Chapters and see a significant number of Veterans that are PMPs or in the process of attaining PMP certifications. Lawyers, while their training and testing is rigorous, are often limited by the scope of the jurisdiction of the state where they practice, even if it's within the same industry.

In order to strengthen the argument of why a PMP should be the President of the United States, we should analyze some of the Knowledge Areas as defined by PMI's "Project Management Book of Knowledge" or PMBOK. Before we do that, we should look at the definition of a Project. As per PMI, a Project is an endeavor that is temporary with the expectation of creating a unique product, service or result. This addresses two of the ten Knowledge Areas; "Schedule Management" and "Scope Management". Since the Presidency is defined by the U.S. Constitution of consisting of no more than two terms, with each term being four years, we've addressed "Schedule Management". Keep in mind, that a second term is something that is approved by the "Sponsors", specifically the voters, provided that the first term's performance indicators shows positive value to the citizens, or "Stakeholders". A campaign promise by a candidate is the equivalent of the "Scope"; answering the question "What will the President do for the nation during their time in office?" 

These two Knowledge Areas require one more Knowledge Area to make up the "Triple Constraint" and that is "Cost Management". This is an area that can be a deal maker or deal breaker for a Project Manager, especially if that Project is being the President. In order to get elected, or re-elected, a candidate for the Presidency MUST identify the Scope and a high-level estimation of the Schedule. In many campaign promises the candidate may say "As your President, I will increase the funding for education!" Really? How? And how long before we see the results? (Raising taxes, fees and budget cuts to programs may be ways to fund such promises.) Something similar is also said during the State of the Union address - the Annual Status Report. Once the candidate is elected, they may say something like "I've got a five-year plan to increase funding for education!" The problem with that is the end of the term is the end of the project. Is the President forcing the voters to re-elect them so that the President can follow through on their campaign promise? This is similar to pushing out the project's deadline and increasing the budget as a result of poor Project Management.

A PMP would pay close attention to campaign promises (Scope), the plan to complete the promise on time (Schedule) and how that campaign promise is funded including managing the financials (Cost) through Earned Value Management. A PMP, as President, would also effectively manage two other Knowledge Areas that encapsulate the Triple Constraint; "Risk Management" and "Quality Management". Using the campaign promise of funding education, there needs to be a comprehensive Risk Management Plan around that campaign promise. How is the risk of funds going to the several states and counties managed so that the campaign promise isn't a failure? In 1975, President Gerald Ford identified the risk of federal funds being "...used to support administrative paperwork and not educational programs" when he signed Senate Bill 6- "Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975". The entire speech can be read here: https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/speeches/750707.htm. A PMP, would have identified the risk and managed the risk by working with the legislature on mitigating that risk. (This of course, would be two other Knowledge Areas; "Stakeholder Management" and "Communications Management".) To reiterate, there is "Quality Management" which works with "Risk Management". A President, who is a PMP, will understand that the campaign promises must be followed as closely to their plan as possible and will ensure that it is managed appropriately to ensure quality.

There are other Knowledge Areas that a PMP will address as well if they are the President. I've not addressed them here, but I would like to know what your thoughts are on "Resource Management", "Procurement Management" and "Integration Management". I'd also be interested in knowing your thoughts on what I've discussed here...until next time!

Welcome to the Project Management Blog of Nicholas Tufaro, PMP

Welcome to my blog! My intention is to offer an interactive experience for you, the visitor, where you will get the opportunity to read and comment on the project management experience. I will post on the attributes of project management, as defined by the Project Management Institute and applying my professional experience to it.
I strongly encourage robust comments! That means, you can strongly disagree with me, how I perceive things and how I present them. I just ask that we all be respectful.
Some of the areas that I will cover are the triple constraint

  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Budget

Just to make it annoying...I mean interesting... I will also cover

  • Quality
  • Risk
  • Resources

To make it more fun, I will post articles, thoughts and documents that may not be easily categorized as one of the six constraints mentioned above.  The end game is that we can all edify each other's knowledge in project management.

 Thank you for stopping in... stay a while ... and come back soon!


Conflict: Confidentiality and the Collaborative Work Environment

🅸’ve been an Information Technology Professional for more than 30 years and I’ve noticeda significant change in the last 5 years that seems to be conflicting with the status quo that has developed during my entire career. That significant change is the change in office design, which has removed cubicles in place of workstations and lowered the walls separating these work stations from the cubicle height of at least 5 feet from the floor to 6 inches from the top of the desk. 

This, of course, comes at a time, when confidentiality needs are at its peak. With federal regulation regarding custodians of consumer information requiring that these custodians (major corporations being an example of such a custodian) have mandatory employee training on how to protect a customer’s private information, it amazes me that the collaborative work space has not become a violation of these mandates.

Allow me to be more specific. There are a number of corporations in both the financial services industries and health care industries who process large amounts of personal data which belong to their customers. This data contains identifying information such as the customer’s name, home address, phone numbers, account numbers and account balances. These corporations offer mandatory computer based training webinars for their staff (both employee and contract) that educates the staff on “clean desk policy” and how to discern if a fellow staff member has a justified “business need to know” personal information of a customer of yours. (This “offering” is mandated by federal law.) For instance, if you are in the Loan Processing department and are working on John Doe’s loan application, you are not allowed to share John Doe’s personal information with your fellow staff member from the Sales Department, so that your fellow staff member can upsell or cross sell some of their products to John Doe.

That’s easy enough to protect, but now with no cubicles and no walls, your fellow staff member can easily over hear your conversation on the phone with John Doe (“Let me repeat that back to you Mr. Doe, your account number is…”). High walls in a cubicle setting would act as a sound barrier, muffling your voice so that your fellow staff member could not get that information. In addition, regarding the “clean desk policy”, the Collaborative Work Environment is set up in such a way to maximize the seating capacity of the floor, thereby creating an arrangement of rows of work stations, where the staff member cannot see people walking behind them and… staring at their screen, where all of John Doe’s confidential information is displayed.

In the health care industry, we’ve got the 1996 law known as H.I.P.A.A. which “Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information” (http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/laws/hipaa/Pages/1.00WhatisHIPAA.aspx), and in the financial services industry there are a variety of laws and industry regulations that also protect privacy, These laws and regulations stem, in part, from 2001’s P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. While the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act doesn’t really protect a customer’s confidential information, if the customer John Doe, is up to “no good”, and you are collecting and verifying critical information that may lead authorities to his money laundering activities, that fellow staff member lurking behind you may have a personal relationship with John Doe and tip him off, just by reading that information off of your computer screen.

Confidentiality in the work environment is not limited to the unauthorized attainment of an individual customer’s information. It also includes unauthorized attainment of processing steps and/or algorithms. This is how hacking into major financial networks occur. Think back a few years when there was hacking into a major retailer’s credit and debit card system, which compromised the financial accounts of several of its card paying customers. There were a number of financial institutions who were negatively impacted by this as well.

In conclusion, I would like to offer up the discussion for your thoughts and opinions. I still can’t come up with a reasonable answer to this question: “In this day and age of heightened awareness of the need to protect the confidential information of customers, is the collaborative work environment a good thing?” Can you?

This article was originally published on my LinkedIn profile on April 13, 2017. © Nicholas Tufaro, April 13, 2017

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