Interview with Brian Weiss: Behind the scenes at PMI

Brian Weiss VP Practitioner Markets, PMII was unable to meet Brian Weiss at Synergy last season because Hurricane Sandy prevented him from reaching London. I was able to meet Brian Weiss and learn more about his role at PMI. Here is what he had to share about his job, virtual communities, and the future of certifications.
Brian, can you please tell me what a Vice President of Practitioner Markets does?
I have the honor and privilege of working with over 700,000 project managers who are members, credential holders, and other community and networking program participants. My job is to support their professional growth and provide opportunities to benefit from PMI’s vast network and knowledge.
Project management professionals have enormous potential. New reports show that there will be more than 11,000,000 new jobs in project management by 2020, especially in the healthcare and manufacturing industries. My team and I collaborate with volunteers and experts from all over the world to provide project management professionals with the resources they need to be successful for the long-term. We offer a network that helps them connect, helping them gain more knowledge, work more efficiently and deliver innovation and value for their organizations, as well as helping them to grow their careers.
700,000. That’s a lot of project managers. How can you effectively engage such large groups of practitioners from so many countries?
PMI is a volunteer-based organisation. Their passion and dedication are unmatched. There are currently over 8,000 active volunteers across nearly every continent. They help to develop self-directed learning resources, lead PMI Chapters, and build credentials.
These volunteers are the driving force behind PMI’s understanding and appreciation of other cultures, geographies, and environments. They are the foundation of our global network, and PMI’s top priority it to support them in their roles. Because of their active engagement, PMI has a strong base to effectively engage existing stakeholders and reach the 19 millions other project professionals around world who should be a part of that community.
Most of the engagement takes place online. Virtual communities are relatively new. What’s next?
While the global project management community may seem large, each member of PMI has their own unique needs. The more PMI can provide for them, the more value they’ll be able deliver. Communities of Practice are a way to do this. Logistically, they increase the opportunities for members to network and gain information by eliminating geographical boundaries. They personalize the member experience by offering forums for members to discuss their career and industry needs. This could be in the form tools and templates, questions or best practices.
While Communities of Practice do not replace Chapter participation, they can enhance those opportunities by helping members to become stronger practitioners. We work closely with volunteers to ensure that the Communities of Practice continue to meet the needs of members.
eLearning is one way you have addressed the individual needs and concerns of project managers. What’s next?
It is impossible to meet the needs for the 20 million project professionals around the world – or PMI’s credential holders and members – through live events. PMI’s eLearning Program is in development