Project Management

Ask PMI Anything: How Does PMI’s B2B Advocacy Strategy Benefit Project Professionals?

4 Nov 2021
Benjamin Breen
PMI has embarked on an ambitious strategy to engage more directly with enterprises. The goal is not only to help organizations succeed, but to drive the reskilling and upskilling that directly benefits our project management community. Ben Breen explains how the strategy is playing out in the Asia-Pacific region.

Image by Usen Parmanov on Unsplash

When I joined PMI two years ago as managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, I learned that a large international bank headquartered here employed some 600 PMP®-certified project professionals and insisted on this qualification as a pre-requisite for their Project Managers. I was certainly pleased to hear this, but something about the situation puzzled me. The certification holders were obviously playing a valued role within the company. But no one at PMI was working directly with the bank to understand its project management needs or to discuss how we could support the certification holders who worked there. 

I’m happy to say that’s all changed—not just at one organization, but at enterprises all over the world that employ project professionals. A key part of PMI’s strategy for the future calls for us to work closely with organizations to refine our offerings based on their needs and to foster a deeper appreciation of what project professionals contribute to their operations. By advocating for our profession at an enterprise level, we can help create a more supportive environment for project professionals to do their jobs.  

Business-to-Business (B2B) Advocacy is a now a key priority for PMI around the world, and it couldn’t have come at a more critical time. Not only are organizations being asked to do more with less (i.e., to deliver the same or better outcomes with fewer people), they are also engaged in a fierce war for talent in what is essentially an “employees’ market.” To attract and retain the best talent, organizations today must prove that they are dedicated to helping their associates acquire the skills needed for the future. 

PMI’s expertise in matters of upskilling and reskilling is more timely than ever. Over just the past few months alone, we’ve announced partnerships with several organizations across Southeast Asia. With CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, PMI, together with our authorized training partners, will be supporting multiple learning and development initiatives.  

The first of these efforts involves connecting high-performing CBRE employees based in Asia Pacific with exam prep training so they can earn the PMP certification. The first cohort of high performers began the rigorous seven-week training course this past June, and the teams will be sitting for their exams soon. We’re also working with CBRE to explore training extensions and upskilling initiatives, and we’re developing a certification specifically for the Built Environment

We’ve also announced a similar learning and development program with Deloitte Consulting Southeast Asia. The goal of the program is to increase awareness of the important role project management plays in delivering valuable outcomes. Its scope will be region-wide, with focused efforts in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. As part of the initiative, we and our authorized training partners will provide courses, training, and professional development opportunities to help Deloitte professionals improve their project management skills. Additionally, Deloitte plans to bring these capabilities directly to young people and future leaders through education initiatives and internships in local communities.  

While these collaborations are extremely promising, much more work lies ahead. A large part of our collaboration is simply building awareness of the problems enterprises face and the importance of project management in addressing those issues. We’re also trying to create a sense of urgency— because if organizations are standing still or moving forward at too slow a pace, they risk getting left behind. They need to transform and transform fast. 

To get this message out, we’re meeting with leaders across organizations both large and small, from business owners and C-suite executives to Learning & Development teams responsible for training and upskilling. We’re also working with local PMI members and volunteers who do a great job of advocating within their organizations. 

It’s important to note that our B2B focus hasn’t diminished our commitment to the individual members and volunteers who make up the PMI community. The new strategy is simply a recognition that enterprises have an enormous impact on the individuals they employ. By supporting the project management needs of an organization, we can not only advance the profession, but drive support for the training and upskilling that will directly benefit our members and all other aspiring project professionals.  

Benjamin Breen Benjamin Breen

Ben Breen is Managing Director of the Association of South Eastern Nations (ASEAN) region where he will oversee business development and represent the chapters in the region bringing us closer to the needs of our customers. Ben also will spearhead the Construction Working Group for greater reach and focus.