BCS revamps its project management certificate

Growing demand for more successful IT projects and faster delivery has led to a further expansion of the BCS Project Management...

Growing demand for more successful IT projects and faster delivery has led to a further expansion of the BCS Project Management Specialist Group and a major revision of the society's qualification in this field, writes John Kavanagh.

The specialist group, which has already expanded this year into Scotland, is starting a South Coast Group with a meeting in Southampton. In addition, the BCS has revised its certificate in project management for information systems to take account of latest practice, especially in rapid development and prototyping.

The BCS took a lead in improving project management after research in the late-1980s highlighted the poor success rate of IT projects.

In 1989 the BCS IS Examination Board launched the certificate, which is now the longest-established qualification of its type in the UK. Soon afterwards members launched the Project Management Specialist Group, which has since grown to be one of the biggest BCS groups, with more than 2,000 members.

Courses leading to the examination have gradually evolved to take account of new thinking, and the revised syllabus formally recognises this. For example, it explicitly recognises rapid development variations on the traditional approach, such as prototyping and incremental delivery.

Issues on which opinion is divided, such as function points, are also included. "Our view is that well-rounded project management professionals need to be familiar with such techniques in order to advise users and clients about them, even if they choose not to deploy them," the examinations board says.

The South Coast Group of the BCS Project Management Specialist Group is being set up to help people who have been travelling to the parent group's meetings in London and Berkshire.

"With more and more pressure to deliver projects ever faster, there is increasing interest in developing the skills of IT project managers," says Bill Cuming, an e-commerce project manager at Skandia Life Assurance in Southampton, who is setting up the group.

"I believe there will be big demand for seminars, courses and other meetings in the region. We will primarily cover Southampton, Portsmouth, Fareham, Winchester, Salisbury and Bournemouth, aiming to provide current and potential project managers with the support they need to improve their skills, deliver projects on time, within budget and to an acceptable quality - and ultimately to improve their career progression."

Cuming aims to put together a committee and gather ideas for events at the inaugural meeting, which will also feature a speaker, Richard Morreale, who was part of the Saturn 11 programme team that put a man on the moon, Since then he has worked on major US and UK Government and banking IT projects.

The meeting, open to members and non-members, will take place on 4 October at 7pm in lecture theatre HC025 in the Herbert Collins Building at Southampton Institute.

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