Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Learning About Project Management in the Third Sector

This summer I'm working on my Capstone Project to graduate from Avila University with a Master of Arts in Management. My concentration is in project management, and so for the Capstone I decided to apply project management techniques to launch a non-profit. The reading for the paper I'll be submitting has been fascinating at times, and always informative. One paper in particular was very helpful in introducing me to the basics of project management in the non-profit/NGO sphere: "Uma AnĂ¡lise do Gerenciamento de Projetos no Terceiro Setor" [An Analysis of Project Management in the Third Sector], co-written by three people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The authors provide a review of project management as practiced in the Third Sector, which itself was a term I'd never heard before. It only goes to show how very much I have to learn if I want to work with social benefit, community development projects. They cite the modernization of society as having created the need for the Third Sector, which they say unfolds in a series of social shortcomings and crises which are not properly addressed by shrinking or limited pubic services. Through social projects, organizations in the Third Sector work with “the objective of promoting social inclusions and the civic participation of the population in situations of social vulnerability.” Citing other sources, they describe the Third Sector as “neither public nor private, but rather as a link between those two latter spheres.” The authors define a social project as “a planned social action, structured with objectives, results, and activities based in a limited quality of resources.” This paper provided an introduction and foundation for me to understand the role of project management in non-profit work, including the provision of appropriate vocabulary to understand and describe processes, approaches, and methodologies.

While the authors discuss the use of the PMI understanding, as elaborated in the PMBoK guide, this paper introduced me to another area of training and certification with which I was unfamiliar. The term used in the paper is 'PMD Pro,' and I have learned that very recently the certification was renamed 'Project DPro.' Frankly, I think the former name sounded a lot better. In any event, this is a body of knowledge that started to come together in the first decade of this century, as a collaboration between several NGOs. Their intention was to describe effective means to manage social projects, given their unique nature, distinct from that in the for-profit business world. There are currently two levels of certification in this domain, which are called 'Foundation' and 'Level 2.' Separately I researched Project DPro and was impressed with what exists. So much so that I've arranged to take the Foundation level exam in September of this year. One more thing for me to study this summer.