January 17, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Project Management around the World – South Africa

PMFlashBlog2The opportunity to participate with other project management bloggers globally has come again with the second Project Management Flash Blog (#PMFlashBlog), organised by Mark Phillipy, author and host of the Sensible Project Manager. The theme for this #PMFlashBlog is “Project Management around the World” and I will be writing about my perspective of project management in South Africa.

The project management professionals has a professional body in Project Management South Africa (PMSA) as the governing body to confer designations in line with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) framework. They look after the interests of project, program and portfolio management practitioners by hosting a National Conference every two years, Regional Conferences and Branch meetings monthly in most cities. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is also represented locally in the PMI South Africa with local Chapters.

Project management is covered as Programmes and Master degrees at most universities. For Engineers separate Programmes in Project Management are offered to equip them with sound skills to work with the big budget projects in the infrastructure – and other industries.

Over the years South Africa has become known for some wildly successful projects.

  • King Shaka International Airport at Durban, a mega engineering project which opened on 1 May 2010. There were 2,100 contractors and subcontractors on site along with 200 earth-moving machines involved in the construction of the airport which finished on time.
  • Another noteworthy event was the Soccer FIFA World Cup of 2010. The main benefits included a catalyst for creating jobs and skills while expanding infrastructure; invaluable lessons were learnt in how to deliver on major projects; an economy boost, as well as a massive international image boost which was a huge injection for tourism in South Africa. See series of posts published about these projects here.
  • Then there was the Gautrain Project, the largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) yet launched in South Africa. It linked private enterprise and government in a project designed to become the central hub of a future integrated transport system for South Africa’s commercial heart. With a project value of about R20 billion, the Gautrain project was led by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and was structured to ensure that the government and the concessionaire, the Bombela International Consortium, operated within a strict set of financial and time parameters.
  • A last interesting project worth mentioning is the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project, divided between Africa and Australia, with all dishes to be built in Africa. Currently the MeerKAT telescope is under construction in the Northern Cape Province which will be the largest, most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere, utilising ground-breaking science. The project is destined for completion in 2024. Read SKA AFrica for more interesting facts.
  • Other Mega projects, too many to detail here.

Given our country’s history of inequality and part of the working population that are not well educated, unemployment is a huge problem. This is being addressed by Government by using projects, especially investments in huge infrastructure projects as an opportunity to create jobs and to build skills.

Some more challenges we are faced with in South Africa are transformation, transition and sustainability. Project managers require an understanding of the real needs of business from a participating resource in the business context to become a more active business leader in the project delivery. South African project practitioners are compelled to take ownership of and responsibility for the impact of our projects by overcoming these obstacles through our daily activities and practices. Projects are critical to business for growth, innovation and change and can be positioned to influence sustainability by focusing on strategic initiatives and providing support to core business in achieving their production goals.

Project management as a career has grown tremendously in the past 20 years across all industries. The same can be said for project management services companies who offer training, software, products and consulting on project management.

It was fun sharing my opinion of project management in SA!

Table Mountain, Cape TownTable Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The first ever PM FlashBlog was coordinated by Shim Marom in September 2013. More than 70 project managers from around the world shared their thoughts on what Project Management meant to them. Many stories were collected in a free ebook which you may download when you subscribe to my blog. You may also follow me on Twitter  and discover the other participating bloggers using the #PMFlashBlog.

Footnote: This blog is part of the #PMFlashblog Round 2 2014, with a topic of “Project Management Around the World”.  Starting March 3, 2014 blogs will be released every Monday morning for 7 weeks, beginning with North America, followed by Europe and Australia, South America, Asia and Africa with each week representing one or more countries.

Check out the 50+ outstanding bloggers participating in this flash blog by adding the #PMFlashBlog tag to your social media streams – there are some wonderful posts!

Also join Mark’s outstanding Google Plus #PMHangout and talk with our featured bloggers each week – a fabulous opportunity to join the PMFlashBlog conversation!

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