In concert, project managers also have to stop getting hung up on the ‘profession’ debate, he says. “I don’t have any tolerance for people making a distinction between a profession and professional. We can run debates on whether it is—to me, it’s a profession. To say it is anything else is simply using the opportunity to get some academic points on the board.”
Hudson says standards and frameworks already support the profession and the profession already supports the projects. What he’s really interested in and passionate about are the people behind project management. “I find it funny when somebody suggests that they’ve ‘discovered’ that we’re adding the human element into project management. That’s rubbish, we’ve been dealing with communication and human skills, stakeholder management—this dialogue has been going on quite successfully for almost a decade.”
This has translated into his love of the Institute of which he is now president. “Above all I love the networking. For me, AIPM is about the people. Otherwise it’s just a concept with an office and some processes. It comes alive when people come together.”
It’s no surprise that Hudson’s love of congregating project managers brought him to the 2008 International Project Management Association (IPMA) World Congress in Rome, an experience that led him to realise that the AIPM could do more to contribute on a worldwide scale. The result was IPMA membership and a successful bid to host the 25th IPMA World Congress, where Hudson took the role as conference convenor. The congress ran in Brisbane earlier this month with 1,200 delegates in attendance.
Hudson maintains links with IPMA as the AIPM standards delegate, a position he has held for two years. “In addition to that I have been appointed as the program lead for the new development of the IPMA standards,” he says.
The international project team will produce version four of the International Competency Baseline and the Certification Regulations and Guidelines, a three-year program “to produce a standards framework for IPMA that all member associations can genuinely participate in, which will be principles based,” says Hudson. “But my role is very strict, I’m not allowed to hold a content view.”
With all this immersion in project management, it’s interesting to learn that members of Hudson’s family are also project managers. “My partner is a very experienced project director and a project procurement expert,” he says. “My son is a certified practising project manager and member of AIPM, as is my partner, so it’s almost a family affair. My daughter is involved in project management: she uses projects to achieve certain outcomes. It’s interesting for me because I can see my family relate to project management in quite different ways.”
Despite this, Hudson maintains that he doesn’t project manage his own life, although he naturally applies a project mindset to his business. “I set all of my client assignments up as projects. My business model is to run a business where I am in control and I work with a range of trusted colleagues in a network.”
With all his commitments to AIPM and IPMA, Hudson indicates time is a precious commodity. Asked what he does in his spare time, he quips: “What’s time? At the moment that’s a rare luxury. I try and use my time, especially the travel component, to relax. Relaxation occurs on aircrafts. When I’m not in the business, it’s not earning money so that’s a factor. But it’s a thing I gladly do. Taking phone calls while I’m in South America at 2 o’clock in the morning is one of the rare joys.”
And he’ll likely look for guidance in his new role as National President, he says. “I haven’t had a mentor but I’m looking to take some mentors in this role. AIPM has been my mentor.”