Interview with Mark Langley


Project Management is about Managing Change

Reflections on the evolution of the PM profession from a unique perspective

Interview with Mark Langley

Former CEO of PMI

Pennsylvania, USA

Interviewed by Yasmina Khelifi
International Correspondent, PM World Journal
Paris, France

Introduction to the interviewee

Mark Langley is past president and CEO of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for project, program, and portfolio management. Mark worked with PMI’s 3 million global stakeholders, business executives, government leaders, and the media as the lead advocate for excellence in project, program, and portfolio management. Mark created innovative coalitions and relationship models including the Global Executive Council, a group of internationally recognized business and government organizations that help shape the future of project management, and the Brigthline® Initiative, a platform that delivers solutions and insights to successfully bridge the gap between strategy design and strategy delivery. In addition, gross certifications increased from 40,000 to 1.5M and membership retention achieved its historic high.

During Mark’s time as CEO, PMI has made significant strides in global advocacy. In governments such as USA, UK, EU, India, Australia, and others, PMI advocates for legislation supporting standardized project management practices, improved efficiency, and a career path for project managers. Additionally, PMI’s thought leadership offers insight into challenges and opportunities affecting the profession.



Q1:     First of all, thank you for accepting an interview request from PMWJ. Your background is unique in that you have been a CFO, COO and CEO. How did you come to project management?  

Mark Langley (Langley):   It’s my pleasure. I’ll always be passionate about the project management community.

As to the question, like many, I had been using the principles of project management in the various roles I held in my career, however, the organizations I worked for did not recognize project management formally. It wasn’t until I was recruited into PMI to assist them in their global development it became clear to me that whether we were conducting mergers and acquisitions, constructing new equipment and facilities, or managing large IT implementations we were using project management. It is one of the experiences that connected me to the need for and the value of formal project management in organizations and fuelled my passion for it. Even today I see organizations failing to value project management. All strategic change happens through projects and programs (no matter how they are labelled, e.g., transformation). Why would leaders in organizations leave their strategies to chance? It has never been clear to me, and it may very well haunt leaders who don’t invest in this strategic capability.

Personally, my father was a program manager for Unisys so perhaps project management had always been part of my DNA!

Q2:  What were your thoughts/misconceptions before reaching the world of project management?

Langley:        Although there were millions of individuals leading projects on a full-time basis and being compensated for it, there was a debate as to whether project management was a profession. When I joined PMI, this narrative was being propagated by a small but vocal number of individuals. It led to the initial set of initiatives to clearly establish project management as a profession (even though we believed it already was) and to elevate PMI as the premier global professional body in the profession. Two examples of elevating the profession were the inclusion of the PMP in the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the passage of the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA) in the USA. There is still more work to do but a significant shift from my first days at PMI.

Q3:    You worked at PMI for 17 years; what are your memories of this professional part of your life?


To read entire interview, click here

How to cite this work: Khelifi, Y. (2023). Project Management is about Managing Change: Reflections on the evolution of the PM profession from a unique perspective, Interview with Mark Langley, Former CEO of PMI, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj129-May2023-Khelifi-Interview-with-Mark-Langley.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yasmina Khelifi

Paris, France


Yasmina Khelifi, PMP, PMI- ACP, PMI-PBA is an experienced project manager in the telecom industry. Along with her 20-year career at Orange S.A. (the large French multinational telecommunications corporation), she sharpened her global leadership skills, delivering projects with major manufacturers and SIM makers. Yasmina strives for building collaborative bridges between people to make international projects successful. She relies on three pillars: project management skills, the languages she speaks, and a passion for sharing knowledge.

She is a PMP certification holder since 2013, a PMI- ACP and PMI-PBA certification holder since 2020. She is an active volunteer member at PMI France and PMI UAE, and a member of PMI Germany Chapter. French-native, she can speak German, English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and she is learning Arabic. Yasmina loves sharing her knowledge and experiences at work, in her volunteers’ activities at PMI, and in projectmanagement.com as a regular blogger. She is also the host and co-founder of the podcast Global Leaders Talk with Yasmina Khelifi to help people in becoming better international leaders.

Yasmina can be contacted at https://yasminakhelifi.com/ or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yasminakhelifi-pmp-telecom/

Visit her correspondent profile at https://pmworldlibrary.net/yasmina-khelifi/