Adapting to skill shortages within a particular profession

 

The Master’s Programme in Project Management (in English) is implemented by the College of Communication and Public Relations (the National University for Political Studies and Public Administration), in Bucharest, Romania.

The Master’s Programme in Project Management (in English) (abbreviated MPE) aims at the professionalization of this profession in Romania, in strong collaboration with the world of work and the Project Management Institute, the most important international professional organization in the field. It is the only professional MA in Central and Easter Europe accredited by the PMI. It provides students with: significant discount of PMI membership fee & free access to professional e-learning resources; significant discount of the certification fee & access to special training for CAPM & PMP accreditation exams; curricula based on the main project management standards that are internationally recognized (Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, PMBok).

The coordinators of this MPE incorporate the specific needs of the employers in the curricula in the following manner:

1. By inviting project management professionals to participate in building and adapting the curricula, as well as in teaching activities. The majority of the courses are thought by guest lecturers with a long-standing career in project management. Being practitioners, these lecturers have first-hand knowledge of the needs and requirements on the labor market. Therefore, they respond to these needs by permanently adapting the content of their courses to the latest developments.

2. By closely following the standards enforced by the PMI, these guidelines, methodologies and standards are developed by the PMI under strict protocols and in close collaboration with the world of work. PMI standards are developed and approved through a consensus-based process that ensures all interested stakeholders can participate. PMI is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards developer, and their process conforms with ANSI procedures. Furthermore, the PMI methodology is enforced and recognized worldwide, not only on US territory. Standards development follows six steps:

  • To develop a specific standard, PMI charters a committee including a chair, vice-chair and volunteers, and assigns a PMI staff member to serve as a resource.
  • The committee meets over a period of several months to draft and refine the standard.
  • The PMI Standards Member Advisory Group (MAG) and subject matter experts review the draft and return it to the committee for revision.
  • The revised exposure draft is made available for public comment, which the committee considers and revises again.
  • The finished standard is sent for approval to the PMI consensus body, a group of independent volunteer members who validate the development process of each PMI standard.
  • Upon recommendation by the PMI standards manager, the new standard is approved by PMI’s president and CEO.

Furthermore, the incorporation of research into the standards development process enhances the current consensus approach by detecting and monitoring trends in the profession, ensuring organizational strategy is incorporated, and providing evidence-based information to assist the Standards committees to make informed decisions for future standards.

3. By teaching students a vast array of methodologies for project management, currently used by organizations around the world. When building the curricula, the coordinators of MPE took into consideration not only the PMI guidelines, but decided to include other popular methodologies (eg. Waterfall, Agile, Scrum). These methodologies were identified as being useful in collaboration with reputable professionals in the field.

4. By encouraging the lecturers to conduct on-going research in the field. MPE lecturers are not only practitioners, but also academics with a strong preoccupation for conducting research on the latest trends of their profession.


More Information

Impact

What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?

The Master responds to the need to enhance collaboration with the world of work. The main challenge associated is to adequately incorporate the needs of the employers into the curricula, and to provide students with the right set of competences. Through the accreditation and re-accreditation process, the Master's Programme is under the constant scrutiny of the Project Management Institute. The faculty has to demonstrate compliance with the professional standards and requests coming from one of the most influential professional bodies in project management in the world.
Each academic year, approximately 50 students can become part of this programme.

Success Factors

What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?

The enabling conditions are mainly of institutional nature, namely the successful collaboration between PMI and the College of Communication and Public Relations. There are no particular economic enablers, apart from the financial resources allocated by the Ministry of Education.

Constraints

What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?

The main constraint is related to the input of professionals in project management, as lecturers. In order to become part of the faculty, they must have a PhD degree, irrespective of other credentials (such as being an accredited trainer).

Feasibility & Sustainability

What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?

In its 6 years of existence, this Master programme proved its sustainability. The growing popularity if the Master among both inexperienced students and project management professionals in need of formal recognition of their competences ensures its permanence in the College's academic offer.

Replicability & Upscaling

What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?

Any similar tentative programme can go through the accreditation process. However, the capabilities of the human resources must be developed beforehand, and project management professionals ideally have to be recruited. Furthermore, there is need for a deep understanding of the PMI criteria for accreditation.

Lessons learned

What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?

Always keep In touch with the professional organizations in the field, in order to know and understand the needs/ requirements coming from the world of work.
Personnel selection: always aim for lecturers with a double capacity- practitioners and academics.
Adapt to the changing standards of the profession to ensure competitiveness of the future employees.

Context

Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)

GAC accreditation is a peer-review process which confirms that a project management or related degree program has been carefully assessed and that its scale, scope, and academic quality conform to comprehensive international accreditation standards. In Romania, there is a growing need for professionals in project management who are skilled in following specifc standars and/or methodologies. As such, the accredited Master's Programme in Project Management (in English) implemented by the College of Communication and Public Relations (the National University for Political Studies and Public Administration), in Bucharest, Romania responds to this specific need.