Developing your Project Managements skills


through being a Volunteer



By Alfonso Bucero

Madrid, Spain

I found several definitions of a volunteer in the literature. For example, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to launch a service. The Cambridge dictionary says that a volunteer is somebody who does something to help other people willingly and without being forced or paid to do it. My definition of a volunteer is somebody who has internally the need of helping others dedicating some personal time and effort to succeed without expecting nothing in exchange, and feel so well doing it. Some worldwide professional associations use volunteers to develop and expand their professional added value. Some professionals always expect to be paid when they collaborate or help other people in an initiative or a project. I believe that depending on the culture, those expectations vary.

The truth is that my experience of playing the role of a volunteer in a professional project management association has been, and still is, very positive for my professional development. I wanted to share with you my personal experience.

My story

When I first joined a professional project management association in 1993 (The Project Management Institute – PMI), I had the opportunity of attending a PMI Congress in San Diego. I was astounded by the many people who attended, and I was surprised to be the only Spanish professional who attended. I could not understand that; I promised to find out how vital project management practice and interest in Spain during those years (the 1990s).

As an international project management practitioner and frequent traveller, I had the opportunity to meet many colleagues from different countries and found the common professional passion among most of them. As soon as I came back to Spain, I searched for some interested colleagues in project management. I discovered ten people coming from different firms (e.g.: NCR, HP, IBM, and some Spanish Engineering and Construction companies). We all wanted to move the project management profession forward and were interested in founding a professional association. We were willing to dedicate some of our free time and effort to doing it. That initiative started in 1997 and had peaks and valleys in its component interests, agreements, behaviours, and reactions until the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter was chartered in 2002. The professional colleague Jose Antonio Puentes was the Chapter Sponsor and then the first President. I was honoured to be a founder member. A typical behaviour I observed was that our unique objective was to contribute to moving our profession forward in Spain.

Before creating our first Spanish PMI Chapter, I knew about the LIM (Leadership Institute Meeting), a yearly meeting for PMI volunteers who were members or officers of one Chapter or were seriously thinking about forming one. In those meetings, I discovered a vast window of opportunities to contribute, collaborate, share and learn. So, if you want to learn skills to advance your career, volunteering may be a good option. When you volunteer, you have an excellent opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

Along 29 years of being a PMI member, I served as a PMI volunteer in different roles, Chapter Sponsor, President of two Chapters (Madrid and Barcelona), member of the Leadership Advisory group, Regional Mentor, PMIEF EMEA representative, and now a member of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter Council. I periodically contribute, as a volunteer, by presenting webinars and delivering PM presentations worldwide. I spent much time reflecting upon my behaviour as a volunteer, and I identified my purpose to help organizations and individuals improve their attitudes for more successful projects.

I do not feel like a champion or a winner. Helping people and facilitating people to succeed is part of my spirit. Project management is my passion, and it is what I try to transmit to other people. But to convince you that you should be a volunteer, let me share some of the benefits I found.


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How to cite this article: Bucero, A. (2022).  Developing your Project Managements skills through being a Volunteer, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue V, May.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/pmwj117-May2022-Bucero-developing-your-pm-skills-through-being-a-volunteer.pdf

About the Author

Alfonso Bucero

Madrid, Spain


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, ACE, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, SFC, IPMO-E, PMI Fellow, is an International Correspondent and Contributing Editor for the PM World Journal in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Bucero is also founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting.  Alfonso was the founder, sponsor and president of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005, and belongs to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group).  He was the past President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, and then nominated as a PMI EMEA Region 8 Component Mentor. Now he is a member of the PMIEF Engagement Committee. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 32 years of practical experience and is actively engaged in advancing the PM profession in Spain and throughout Europe. He received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award on October 9th, 2010, the PMI Fellow Award on October 22nd 2011 and the PMI Eric Jenett Excellence Award on October 28th, 2017.  Mr. Bucero can be contacted at alfonso.bucero@abucero.com.

To view other works by Alfonso Bucero, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alfonso-bucero/