Project management in Russia on its way to maturity

2 december 2019

The conference, “Project Management Practices. People and Competences,” which traditionally wraps up the contest “Project Olympus,” has taken place at the Analytical Center.

Analytical Center deputy head Mikhail Pryadilnikov underlined the importance of project management for the implementation of national projects in his opening remarks. In his words, such a trend as digitalization will change the entire system of management.

This year’s plenary session had the format of an expert “battle,” and anyone from the audience was welcome to participate. The “battle” was moderated by Russian Television Academy member, “Open Studio” program anchor Roman Gerasimov.

The experts presented their opinions on debatable issues. The first question was what is more important: regulations and automation or competences of the team and its supervisor. In the opinion of Natalia Garkusha, Director of the Project Management Agency at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, the person and the united team are the most important, as they can accomplish the mission even without regulations. Meanwhile, leading advisor of the Competences Center of the Moscow City Government University of Management’s Center for Personnel Diagnostics and Development, Andrei Lyakin, believes there is no need to be heroic, as standardization is the key to success. In the end, it was agreed that balance is necessary: leaders are more important at the project’s outset, and regulations and unification are necessary for making progress at the mature stage.

The second question was what is more efficient: to train the project team as a whole or to provide individual training. Advisor to the head of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation Pavel Shestopalov is sure that individual training is more productive, considering that the roles played in the implementation of a project differ greatly. Only teamwork skills should better be learned together.

As to who will make a better supervisor: a proficient expert, a proficient manager, or a certified manager, Skolkovo Business School Professor of Practice Pavel Alfyorov said that expert knowledge and administrative talent come together on extremely rare occasions, so a good manager capable of streamlining efforts of experts is more important. PJSC Sberbank Projects Head Maria Romanova believes that it is necessary and reasonable to engage industry experts “developing” in the same organization in strategic projects. In the opinion of Proyektnaya Praktika Group Managing Partner Yury Trubitsyn, a certificate is a proof of quality. Besides, a specialist preparing for certification receives an additional bonus by thinking over one’s experience.

Experts conferred on the need to apply lean management methods and instruments and ways to motivate team members to ensure the project success. Participants in the discussion delivered their reports at the conference afterwards.

Pavel Alfyorov spoke about project management trends. He noted that the degree of projects’ complexity had been increasing year upon year and companies had been applying a hybrid approach to management more and more often. According to Alfyorov, the art of the leader manifests itself in the ability to make correct decisions about practices which would suit the project best. Besides, a modern manager must be aware of technological development, use those technologies in one’s activity, and manage both people and technologies. Another important trend is the use of soft skills and emotional intelligence, which account for 85% of success, the speaker said.

IPMA Serbia President Vladimir Obradovic dwelt on the subject of emotional intelligence. He described emotional intelligence as the capacity for correct understanding of one’s and others’ emotions and for using this knowledge in the decision-making process. This skill is necessary for managing complicated negotiations, for political management, and for curatorship.

Project Management Association SOVNET President Alexander Tovb told the audience about professional competence in project management. He thinks that project management should be taught in higher education establishments. “Nowadays, most of higher educational establishments are shifting to this system: a general, comprehensive project management course and an advanced course for professionals. The professional community supports this. Project management training programs may undergo voluntary accreditation free of charge,” Tovb said.

JSC Rosatom Production System Projects Head Nadezhda Davydova gave a detailed description of lean management principles. Orientation at the customer and its values is one of the most important principles, she said. “For instance, a student is the client of a higher educational establishment. Everything the university is doing must be useful to him/her. In the end, the student must have knowledge and ability to think and to use this knowledge,” Davydova said.

Maria Romanova brought up the issue of motivation in project management. Motivation traditionally has a financial foundation, she said, noting that this factor matters to 80% of workers. Eleven percent are interested in the working process per se, its creative dimension, and the possibility to participate in the decision-making process. Five percent are focused on the opportunity to create an investment portfolio, and less than 4% of workers appreciate the speed of work and the use of modern technologies by the company.

On the second day of the conference, participants shared their project management practices at roundtables.

Please note that the Analytical Center established the contest “Project Olympus” in 2014. This year, it partnered with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, Rosatom, SOVNET, the Project Management Assessment and Development Center (TsORPU), and some others. The project received information support from itWeek, and magazines Upravleniye Proyektami, Upravleniye Proyektami i Programmami, Praktika Upravleniya, and Budget.