I am delighted that I have been invited to speak at the PMI-Japan 20th anniversary forum in Tokyo on July 14-15, 2018. The theme of the forum is ‘Transcending Boundaries – Dealing with Challenges”.
I will be speaking on the topic ‘Never too young to be a Project Manager’.
This session will explore the discipline that we call Project Management, and explain how this can be broken down into an easily-understood set of fundamental life skills that can be applied by people of all ages.
Summary of the session:
Managing projects is tough. You need training, experience, an iron will and a cast-iron stomach to handle the challenges and complexities that your sponsor, stakeholders, vendors and customers throw at you. Sometimes it may seem that if you aren’t some sort of Superman, you won’t survive.
However, many would disagree. Around the world, children can – and do – manage projects every day. The difference between their projects and yours is scale and language. But even at that, you may find yourself surprised at what mere children can do in the world of projects.
When it comes right down to it, Project Management is not a profession, but a set of essential life skills that can be applied at nearly any age. Abstract thinking develops at around the age of ten, and that is an ideal time to start developing fundamental skills that will help them in their everyday lives – at home, in school, and in their future profession, whether or not they become a project manager. However, some key skills can be learned at an even younger age.
They might use those skills to build a fantastic tree house… or hydroelectric power plant in the future.
Can children plan? Certainly. Can they form teams and communicate? Of course.
Can a ten year old do a basic risk assessment and develop a set of deliverables, dependencies and estimate tasks? Can an eleven year old determine the critical path of a project using a network diagram?
Yes, they can do all of that too. Just don’t be too critical of their spelling, and they may use simpler language and have fun while they do it.
Learning to manage projects is an essential life skill – and you are never too young (or too old) to learn how to do it.
Gary M. Nelson, PMP