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Projects and project management in Colombia

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The Republic of Colombia is located in the North-West of Southern America. Neighbours are Panama in the West, Venezuela and Brazil in the East and Peru and Ecuador in the South. Colombia has a rich history. Firstly inhabited by indigenous people, the Spanish arrived in 1499 and started the colonialization from the coast into the region. One driver for them was the search for “El Dorado”. Later the region was ruled by the “New Kingdom of Granada”. After the declaration of war between the British and the Spanish Empire in 1739, the New Kingdom and especially the city of Cartagena de Indias became a primary target for the British Navy, which could not overcome the massive defense and had to withdraw in defeat. After some rebellions in the early 1810s and a major coup of Simon Bolivar Colombia finally become independent from Spain in 1819. However, the new country was instable, and the departments of Venezuela and Ecuador and later also Panama separated. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from various conflicts between the government forces, left-wing guerrilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and cocaine producers. The government is confident to soon reach an agreement with the FARC guerrilla, however this is still a blocking factor for the countries development.

DSC06556The economy of Colombia is mainly built on agricultural products such as coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, and vegetables. It also exports oil and gas as well as mining products. Nowadays, Colombia is Latin America’s second largest producer of domestically-made electronics and appliances, its manufacturing makes up already twelve percent of Colombia’s exports, and grows steadily. Colombia is Latin America´s fourth largest economy measured by GDP, ambitions are high but are hampered by the unresolved conflict with the FARC. Colombia is a net-exporter of Energy thanks to a great mix of energy production, mainly based on hydro- and thermoelectric power plants. Besides construction, infrastructure, oil and gas exploitation, the energy sector is an investment- and thus project-intensive sector. Especially, the outlook for renewable energy provision projects is very promising.

DSC06178Project management in Colombia has been influenced by the US-led Project Management Institute over the past fifteen years. In 2009, a national association has been founded and later approved as an IPMA Member Association. Last year it has been transformed into APDPC, which means “Asociación para el Progreso de la Dirección de Proyectos de Colombia” in Spanish and is an integral part of LATNET (the members of IPMA in Latin America). APDPC has more than twenty corporate members, including major engineering organisations as well as individual members. Several Universities are interested in implementing the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline for their Master Courses in Project Management. Last week, the first International IPMA Event took place in Medellin, gathering nearly eighty experts from different sectors to listen to speakers from Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Panama and Spain. Main emphasis of the event was exploring the three IPMA Global Standards (IPMA ICB, IPMA PEB and IPMA OCB) together with their benefits for individuals, projects and organisations as well as their application in two case studies: the transformation of the Electricity Provision of Mexico and the Panama Canal Expansion Project. The country has a lot of potential that require professional project management, so IPMA and LATNET will support Colombia in advancing the profession.

 

- Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defence, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is President of IPMA, past President and Honorary Fellow of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH, Germany´s No. 1 PM Full Service Provider.

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