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Observations on Australia and the PGCS

by on May 13, 2014

Australia is deceptively familiar, yet decidedly unique.

PGCS banner

I was in Australia for a book launch and to give an introductory workshop at the Project Governance and Controls Symposium in Canberra. I squeezed in a brief talk at a PMI Sydney breakfast meeting and a bit of site seeing. I met colleagues, old and new, and finally put faces to names of people whose work I’d admired for some time.

Here are a few observations about the Symposium. They may reflect Australia itself…only future visits will tell.


  1. Presentations from people with a diverse range of backgrounds. The stage was shared by people born and bred in Australia, some of whom frequently travel outside the country for work, along with people born outside of the country who have settled in Australia. There were also a few of us who came in from the US and Europe. The global backgrounds, different work histories and wide range of personal experiences brought a unique set of perspectives, and energy, to the symposium.
  2. No fear of crossing boundaries between domains, sub-domains or areas of expertise. Practitioners and leaders seemed focus on results, regardless of the existence (or not) of established methods to obtain them. If something isn’t working, find a way to make it work.
  3. Informality and frankness ruled interactions between government and industry. Deference to position was no barrier to exploring new ideas, asking questions or seeking solutions from non-established sources.  This seemed to mirror the philosophy of the host institutions, University of New South Wales, Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy, which has explicit “no saluting” learning environments.
  4. Project governance and control challenges contextualized for Australia. Oft cited challenges such as early performance indicators, contractor oversight, accountability and political-social-team member engagement have unique subtleties. Solutions from the US or Europe can’t simply be “cut and paste” to work. The areas of difference provide a space for practitioners and leaders, global and domestic alike, to learn, share knowledge and create new approaches.

ADFA-Logo-Right   UNSW    PMI Sydney         Gower Logo

The conference, and my visit, were made possible by the hard work and support of numerous organizations. These include ADFA, UNSW, PMI Sydney and my publisher, Gower, not to mention the dedicated individuals behind the symposium whose blood, sweat and tears (from missed Rugby games, no doubt) made it happen.



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