DG DIGIT’s Centre of Excellence in PM² has recently published a new and important guide for staff at the EU institutions working with the increasingly popular project management methodology. We took the opportunity to sit down – virtually – with the Commission’s first ever PM² ambassador, Marc Berghmans, to ask him about his new position and what they have been up to.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what it takes to become a PM² ambassador?
I had a lot of widely varied jobs, including in an abattoir or as a truck and bus driver. But I think what made me a suitable candidate for this position is my more than 30 years of experience in managing projects. I worked on big projects in different environments, from shipping and ports through waste management to banking. For example, I was running the project that set up a common IT system for all the prisons in Belgium, and I was the project manager of the Commission's Schengen Visa Information System.
I had a lot of jobs, including in an abattoir. But I think what made me a suitable candidate for this position is more than 30 years of experience in managing projects
But I started working at the Commission in earnest in 2014, when I joined DIGIT's PM² methodology team. It is now called the Centre of Excellence in PM² and is composed of senior project managers with at least 15-20 years of experience. I was picked to become the Commission's PM² ambassador last September.
What do you do in this role?
In short, I am representing PM² and our methodologies. In this role, there are two – or more precisely two and a half – major parts. On the one hand, I promote PM² internally and try to find new partners at the EU institutions so that we use one common methodology everywhere. Our Centre of Excellence plays a key role in this as we provide consultancy and customised training to help DGs and other institutions implement our methodologies.
On the other hand, I am a PM² evangelist towards the outside world. As you may know, PM² has been open since 2016 when we 'de-Commissioned' it, or removed everything specific to the Commission from it, and made it freely available to everyone. In this role, I go and spread the word in conferences, at meetings with the public sector in Member States, by working together with universities and public organisations and by making sure our guides are translated into more and more EU languages. For example, we have recently published the Spanish edition of our PM² guide.
Sadly, due to the current situation, I could only attend one physical conference last year and the rest were all virtual. As face-to-face communication is key for this role, I cannot wait to meet people in person again…
And then I am also working on setting up an external certification programme for PM². There are several organisations, companies offering training in the methodology, but currently, if you do not work for the institutions you cannot get certified. This will change as we are preparing a call for tender to find an organisation or company that could manage the certification under the auspices of the Commission.
You have just published a new guide. Why is it important?
This is a programme guide, a new document that did not exist before. Why is it important? There is a need to have a standard methodology for the EU institutions for programmes, which are entire portfolios with all their related projects. Focusing on programmes rather than individual projects has the advantage of being able to follow up on the benefits and sharing resources.
The EU typically works on big programmes, such as the European Green Deal, for example, but they usually use different methodologies. That is why we propose a unified methodology to follow.
What else can we expect from you in the coming months?
We plan to publish a major revision of the PM² agile guide in the coming months, and then further guides on artefacts and our tools and techniques. If you wonder what artefacts are: we can call them templates that are an inherent part of our methodology. For example, when you have to create a report, a plan, we provide you with templates to make sure that you have all the information needed. These templates are one of the great advantages of PM², compared with other methodologies.
There will also be several Communities of Practice, and of course our new PM² portal – which recently launched internally – will be made available to the public in the coming months.
We have been working very closely with the ISA² Programme and the EU Academy as well on virtualising our training courses. In the long run, the idea is to put more and more of our trainings in the EU Academy. We are even considering complete courses for universities or anybody interested in our methodologies.
The article was originally published in 'Commission en direct', by József Barna, CEND
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