I had the pleasure to interview Saad Hegazy from Egypt, one of the leading persons in project management in the Middle East. Learn more about the situation of project management in Egypt after the revolution.
Which role do projects and project management play in Egypt?
Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world, it has experiences in project management of more than seven thousand years. Everybody understands the meaning of the pyramids projects and all these temples. We have a great history in managing projects. Nowadays, projects are more important to Egypt as a developing country to achieve its goals. An increase of projects and the project management practitioners in Egypt has been noticed in the past years.
Did the situation change after the revolution?
Of course, Egypt after revolution is a totally new country. The people now think that they can do anything, which is a very important aspect in achieving any project goal. The regime, which had abused the nation for more than 30 years, has been overthrown in 18 days, so people now better understand the meaning of many project management aspects as team work, planning and commitment.
On the other hand, more projects have been added to our life like social, political and economical projects. Professionals start to work in projects in order to enhance the country´s situation in the world. For example, after the revolution many groups have been formed in charity projects, and some for the foreign affairs to solve the river Nile conflicts.
What kinds of projects are most important for your country?
I believe that Egypt really needs what we call national projects, as people need to gather their efforts to a specific goal to achieve more and distribute the roles among them. Some examples had been introduced like Zowel (Nobel Price Holder for sciences) University, the new development path by Dr. Al-Baz (NASA X-Chief of Experts), rehabilitation of the poor people areas, and many more.
I also, believe that the economical project style is very important to recover the financial problems we face since the revolution because of the market instability. And the most important thing is that all this is to be executed along with the social and political development projects to ensure that the revolution´s main goal will be achieved.
How many project managers are there in Egypt and the area around and how do they get trained for their job?
Well, there are really too many project managers, not all of them trained, of course. Some of them have gained the experience by practicing the job. For example, in the construction management old school you find many project managers who have never been trained to be a project manager. But they became it by working much in complicated projects for many years, but, of course, many others are trained and have a good educational and professional background.
Have a look at the young project managers: almost all of them are trained and well prepared by knowledge as they believe more in the new ways to achieve career development and think that it is the best way to enhance their careers.
What is the Management Engineering Society (MES) doing in Egypt and how is this member association (MA) linked to IPMA?
MES is one of the oldest management associations in the world. The Management Engineering Society was founded as a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Egyptian Society of Engineers in 1970 by pioneer engineers who conducted extensive studies and exerted a lot of voluntary efforts towards MES formation (www.mes.eg.net).
MES is conducting workshops, trainings, seminars, conferences and meetings to enhance the profession of project management in Egypt and the region. Additionally, it represents IPMA and executes three main exams for the IPMA levels each year. They are supporting the young people as well through the Egyptian Young Crew.
MES has a good connection to IPMA and is almost represented in all IPMA world congresses. Of course, there is always space to improve, but I believe that in the near future the cooperation will be conducted with the IPMA. Especially because MES implements project management in three languages: Arabic, English and French.
More information on MES: www.mes.eg.net
You do have a lot of young people in your country, how are they involved in your MA and in IPMA?
More that 50% of the Egyptians are young people. That is why we have a Young Crew team in Egypt (www.ipmayc.org) to create a network of young professionals in order to promote and develop the project management profession within the project management community and to develop our country utilizing the power of project management as a mean of business performance improvement which will lead to enhance our country’s position in the world.
They are involved in many aspects, and our Young Crew is a part of the Young Crew Family since 2008.
Is your MA interested in contacts to Germany and which opportunities are there for both sides?
Sure, MES is open to any kind of cooperation with any association, especially the GPM. Many GPM leaders like Klaus Pannenbäcker had been visiting MES before as trainers, and there is a mutual understanding between the German Young Crew and the Egyptian one. I believe that there are many subjects MES and GPM could cooperate in together, for example an exchange of young researchers in project management.
Any other important things to add?
I really believe that no country in the world can achieve development without team work and good planning. In another word: project management is essential to success and I wish better success to my country and the region.
I am sending my best regards from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to all GPM members and followers.
About Saad Hegazy:
Saad Hegazy is an Egyptian project management consultant based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He consults in many industries, specialized in using project management techniques to enhance an organization’s performance. Saad is founder of Hegazy Consultants, specialized in project management and dispute resolution services.
Saad holds B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Cambridge International Diploma in Project, Diploma in Human Rights and Civil Society, ongoing Master of Strategic Project Management.
Saad is the international correspondent of Middle East in PM Forum, the largest PM E-Magazine. He is also a well known international trainer in project management, considered as the youngest holder of IPMA Level B in the world, and he holds the Project Management Professional (PMP). Saad is the founder of the Egyptian project management standard committee, head of Egyptian Delegations to ISO standards for Project Management ISO21500 and Portfolio Management, founder of IPMA Young Crew in Egypt, founder of the IPMA Coaching for Development initiative C4D. He as well is an active member in the Management Engineering Society MES, the IPMA representative association in Egypt. Recently Saad received the IPMA Young Project Manager Excellence Award Prize for 2010. More: www.saadhegazy.com