In Step with Projects

In Pace with Progress

Rodney Turner: China Needs Tens of Millions of PMPs


Journalist: Yu Yanjuan (Spring Yu)  |  Source: PMR  |  Updated:2018.03.29

Rodney Turner attended 2017 PMI Conference in Shanghai in September and made a keynote speech “Project Marketing---Marketing by, for, of the Project”. During the tea break, our journalist made a brief interview with him and awarded him the certificate of honorary chief editor of Project Management Review magazine. 

As a top expert in project management, Professor Rodney Turner keeps a busy schedule. He said that he always wakes up in different countries. He has published 15 books and always stands in the frontier of project management research. Many of his research focuses are 10-15 years ahead. His present research areas are: project marketing, mega project management, project management of small and medium-sized companies. 

In his eyes, China has undergone tremendous changes since he visited China for the first time in 2002. He has been a professor and lecturer in several Chinese universities. What impressed him most is the changes of project management students in China. 15 years ago, Chinese students tend to be silent in class and were fearful of making mistakes. In other words, they were waiting to be told. However, nowadays, they are more willing to try and explore answers and actively participate in class discussion. 

He said, “The number of master’s degree in project management in China has risen considerably. That means people invest heavily in tuition of project managers, which is important to China’s development. ” It’s estimated that China has 180, 000 PMPs now and one in five PMPs is from China. Professor Rodney Turner noted that though the number is impressive, it’s far from enough as China is developing so fast. “China needs tens of millions of PMPs, one hundred times more PMPs,” he emphasized. From his perspective, training project managers in master’s course is important to ensure that we have adequate number of project managers.

As he has said in one of his books, project management is like boat racing. Those who have the best strategies and who can adjust to the changing environment succeed. In fact, life itself is a project. As a project management expert, Professor Rodney Turner admitted that sometimes he took project management approaches to deal with non-routine things in his life. 

With the progress of globalization, multi-national and multi-cultural projects become common. In his words, “Some countries are more remote; some countries are more individualistic. That needs different working relationships on project teams.” In his eyes, in the context of globalization, we should understand others’ way of doing things and respect change and fit in with it. 

Rodney Turner has many job titles such as chief editor, college professor, lecturers. He once served as a project manager in his early career. Asked which title he enjoys most, he replied that he takes great pleasure in teaching and writing books. He added that his personality isn’t suitable for being a project manager. In his view, the top qualities a project manager should have are: good communicator, problem solvers, flexible, conscientious, leading, delegating. 

Journalist’s notes: He arrived half an hour earlier before his keynote speech to try the equipment and during the interviews he referred to his mobile device about some details from time to time. His responsible attitude towards work, preciseness and meticulosity impressed me most. I believe it is those valuable qualities that lay the foundation for his success today.        

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