The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Setting a Baseline


October 8 through 12 I attended the PMI Leadership meeting and after that the PMI Congress. I have actively volunteered for PMI on and off for the last 8 years and currently serve as the immediate past President of the San Francisco Chapter. Starting January I will be a member of the Leadership Institute Advisory Group.  Leadership meetings are an opportunity for active volunteers in leadership roles to learn best practices and learn from each other. The chapter or virtual community decides who will represent them at these meetings. Throughout my eight years of volunteering, I have attended several Leadership meetings in the US and Europe.

After awhile you notice a trend in questions and issues that are brought up by new volunteer leaders. There is a certain expectation that PMI Global should do xyz (fill in the blank) for the volunteer leader. Although there is some truth in this, I personally believe that as a leader we should take responsibility, set our own chapter strategy, and execute against it. This year it struck me that if the same questions keep coming up, something is not getting addressed. On the other hand, so much progress has been made that new volunteer leaders are unaware of.

What we are missing is a collective baseline. My baseline with PMI is 2001 when I joined the organization. Between 2001 and now, huge progress has been made both in the support of the chapters but more importantly in bringing visibility and recognition to the profession. In 2001, PMI was an unknown organization to me having moved here from Europe a few years earlier. In the 2002 downturn, project managers were seen as overhead and kicked to the curb faster than you can say “project manager”. Now 8 years later, PMI is internationally recognized. The profession is internationally recognized and seen in most organizations as a strategic value.

Being stuck in today’s realities, we have a tendency to forget the progress we have made both for our own personal lives as well as the organizations we work with. How as an organization can we create a collective baseline? If we set a collective baseline we can measure our overall progress. People who are new to the organization will understand where we came from and can focus their energy to all those improvement areas that are still there. Are you interested to take on this challenge? I am…


About the Author

After working for key companies, like Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Boeing and Baan, within different industries in both Europe and the USA, Nathalie Udo founded InDepth Strategies, LLC, a boutique business strategy consulting and executive coaching company. Nathalie has built a proven record of accomplishments with her ability to deliver. She loves inspiring people to achieve what they previously thought was impossible, and has been told that her enthusiasm is infectious. She has helped her clients realize their business objectives by using the right amount of personal coaching with program management discipline and process improvement. Nathalie has lead complex international projects for corporations like Alcatel-Lucent, Autodesk, Kaiser Permanente and Pacific Gas & Electric. She is a seasoned professional with extensive coaching, project management, cross cultural communication and leadership skills. She takes strong ownership and accountability for deliverables and drives positive results. Nathalie's clients compliment her for her expertise, strong work ethic, and most importantly, her ability to deliver. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Scrum Master. She has a Masters Degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands. As author of several papers on the subject of project management and team interactions, Nathalie has been a guest speaker at several global conferences. She is also one of the co-authors of "Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof that Bending the Rules Isn't Breaking the Law" and her new book "Organizational Survival: Profitable Strategies for a Sustainable Future" will be released by McGraw-Hill end of 2013. You can reach her at
Creative Commons License
Note: This work and all associated comments are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

One Response to “Setting a Baseline”

  1. This is an interesting point Nathalie, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it this way.

    I will say this though…at some point the people in any organization need to re-baseline, at least for significant parts and topics. Perhaps every 3 years PMI should “re-baseline” in some way to bring everyone back together.

    Take the less-than-smooth transition from SIGs to “Communities of Practice”. There are many issues going on there, and perhaps one of them is that the people who founded and volunteered for the SIGs still have a baseline from when it began or when they joined….PMI’s transition is forcing a new baseline on them, but many are unwilling to accept it.

    Although it’s important to see the history and how far things have come, dwelling on the past too much can lead to complacency (not in you Nathalie, you’re a dynamo!) The new voices are coming into this with a perspective unimpeded by the past, and there is a lot of potential for creative solutions there.

    It’s like when you have a new team member come to your project. Sometimes they have awesome ideas precisely because they are new. Everyone else has fallen into the status quo and the curse of knowledge has set in.

    Very thought-provoking Nathalie, I’d be interested to hear what you or anyone else reading this has as a reaction to my comments above.

    Josh Nankivel

Leave a Reply