Since the war in Iraq in 2003, the international community has been working to rebuild the infrastructure of the country. Projects have been started to repair and upgrade Iraqi water and sewage treatment plants, electricity production, hospitals, schools, housing, and transportation systems. While reconstruction efforts have resulted in some successes, problems have occurred with the implementation of some internationally funded Iraq reconstruction efforts. These problems include insufficient security, corruption, and poor coordination between international agencies and local communities.
JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has been involved in many of these projects, supported by Japanese engineering and consulting firms. Due to the security and coordination concerns, many of these firms preferred to utilize Iraqi engineers and project managers on the ground and to supply their expertise remotely.
To facilitate this effort, JICA and the Iraq government decided that a uniform project management standard would ease some of the coordination issues. In order to facilitate this, 20 project leaders from Iraq were selected to study a global standard project management methodology, and take the Project Management Institute’s PMP exam. The objective was to have all 20 leaders managing their projects in a consistent way, based on this global standard.
Innova Solutions was invited to design and deliver a comprehensive training and coaching program. Our mandate was to ensure that all 20 project leaders could interface between their local project teams and the Japanese engineering and consulting firms, while delivering successful project outcomes.
The program consisted of 3 parts:
- A week-long intensive project management program in Japan, using construction projects as case study material.
- A 3 month remote study program, conducted over skype and by email.
- A 5-day exam preparation course in Japan for those whose English reading ability was good enough to take the notoriously difficult PMP exam.
The 20 project leaders all developed their ability to plan and manage projects, identify and mitigate risks, and to control project costs and schedules to a degree that didn’t exist before. This group of project leaders became so proficient that it soon became evident that much more serious issues were the new bottlenecks (corruption, politics and lack of familiarity with project management at higher levels in the government).