Hong Kong firms are increasingly aware of the importance of good project management in order to respond to the ever-changing business environment and to constantly evaluate project outcomes, says Raymond Wong, president, Project Management Institute Hong Kong Chapter.
It is therefore essential for managers working in all industries to acquire project management skills so as to improve their knowledge and help drive business success for their companies.
Two years ago, City University of Hong Kong's School of Continuing and Professional Education, and the Project Management Institute Hong Kong Chapter joined forces and launched a diploma programme in professional project management. The response has been encouraging.
Mr Wong, who is the leader of the diploma programme, says while most participants hailed from the IT industry at the time of the programme's launch in 2005, students now come from a variety of fields, including general administration, product development, human resources and engineering.
"Project management skills such as planning techniques are widely applicable in different industries and essential for knowledge workers at the managerial level," Mr Wong points out.
He adds that a better grasp of such skills increases a manager's ability to control projects and manage risks, leading to more favourable business outcomes.
The programme consists of four core modules, to be completed over 195 hours. These include project management as a whole; project management professional (PMP) certification examination preparatory sessions; advanced project management topics such as risk, quality and procurement management; and project workshops. The programme is designed to help participants acquire good project management concepts and techniques through in-class group exercises, case studies, and experience sharing. "We aim at teaching participants to put their new knowledge into practice," Mr Wong stresses.
He also notes that this particular programme provides participants an opportunity to acquire a globally recognised professional certification in project management.
Participants who complete the programme, and have acquired the specified number of hours of project management work experience, may sit for the PMP examination. After passing the examination they are awarded the PMP qualification, which is certified by the Project Management Institute, the world's leading professional project management association.
There are currently about 240,000 PMP certificate holders worldwide, including 2,000 in Hong Kong and 20,000 on the mainland. This indicates that there is great demand for PM professionals in the Greater China region.
Prospective students should be degree holders with at least two years' relevant work experience, acquired within the five years prior to application. Non-degree holders should have obtained Grade E or above in at least two subjects in their Hong Kong Advanced Level (HKAL) examinations, coupled with four years' project management experience in the six-year period prior to application. Meanwhile, applicants for the PMP exam must have three years of project management experience, acquired within the six-year period prior to application.