The IPMA International Project Excellence Award Process

Mid-March 2015 I have successfully completed the International Project Management Association (IPMA) PE Award training. Please find my blog about this training in Denmark here.

In April I was asked to execute an International PE Award assessment regarding a large project in China. I will not write about the name, location etc. of this multimillion project as this has to be treated, as you will understand, confidentially.

For me and I am sure for other (International/Global) Project Managers like me, this is a very interesting process which we all can learn a lot from. Not only due to the fact that it’s such a large project (over 3500 people involved) is interested to be explored in detail, also because there is a huge cultural difference between a Chinese (or other eastern) culture managed project compared to our western world.

The process:

The first action is to agree on this assessment (you could also call this in my opinion a Project/Program audit), provide all your details and to sign the confidentiality agreement. Next to this, the team (5 international assessors in total) has been selected. What is nice about the process that we do not know the names and details of the other assessors. The reason is be sure that we first (all individually) assess the project documentation before interacting with the other assessors to avoid influence.

The next phase is to thoroughly read the project documentation. The five assessors individually need to write, per (sub) criteria their comments and/or questions for further inspection during the onsite inspection phase.

As you can read about me here, I am one of the IPMA PM assessors in the Netherlands since many years. Next to that I work as a Global Project Manager in and for 36 companies in 32 different countries.

Looking at this daily international working environment and my background it’s absolutely crucial for me to look as open as possible to the document and NOT to judge on the possible “deviating” cultural different styles of Project Management. The judgement and feedback must be fact based without looking at the cultural differences.

This entire process (reading the document thoroughly, writing feedback for each of the 22 (sub) criteria’s and individual scoring) took me a couple of days. Possibly because I need to become more familiar with the process in the next years, but it will continue to costs quite some time as these actions need to be executed very precisely with the highest quality possible.

This week I have delivered the document and in two weeks time we will have a half a day Skype meeting to go through all individual comments. This is to make sure we all are aligned and that we are fully prepared for the site visit to be executed early July.

I will write a second blog with my observations after the Skype meeting and/or shortly during/after the site visit in China.