Interview with Michael Pace


Project Management Should Be Context-based

Interview with Michael Pace

President, IPMA-USA
Executive Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University, USA

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)
International Correspondent, PM World Journal

Introduction to the interviewee

Michael Pace, PMP, PfMP, CSM, has been the president of IPMA-USA since July 2021. He is an executive assistant professor at Texas A&M University. He founded and has continued to manage the consultancy Diverging Roads, LLC since 2018.  He is a customer-focused management expert and problem solver. He enjoys a reputation for delivering complex and large-scale projects using a best-fit approach (plan-driven, change-driven, Agile, wicked, lean, etc).

His publications include Managing Projects, The Projectless Manager, A Correlational Study on Project Management Methodology and Project Success.


Part I – Story with Project Management

Q1.      Congratulations on becoming the president of IPMA-USA! What’s your understanding of the role? Have you set objectives for your term in the role?

Michael Pace (Pace):    Thanks!  This is a great opportunity to continue the success & growth of my predecessors. I consider IPMA unique in that it’s competency-based, and the mission of IPMA-USA is to equip project professionals to be better at what they do, be that technical skills or “soft” communication and leadership skills. As the president, I get the honor of helping steer that ship – alongside a board of some of the most qualified folks around.

Q2.      I noticed that you majored in Science for your Bachelor’s degree. And you turned to management later. What are the attractions of project management in your eyes? Please say a few encouraging words to newcomers in project management.

Pace:     My bachelor’s & master’s degrees are both in forensic science, and I started my career at a toxicology lab startup.  Coming from a non-business background, I didn’t know what project management was.  My bosses just asked me to organize work, plan things out, and deliver results. It turned out that I was pretty good at all that, and it was called “project management”.  I think accidental project managers are the norm, and I am not the exception. Not too many people go to school to become project managers, which is probably a good thing.  It means you don’t have to unlearn any bad habits, and you can focus on the skills that you’re good at and develop up the skills that are lacking. The biggest encouragement I can give to new project managers is that we’ve all been there.  I think what separates out the good project managers from the bad is a willingness to learn, to try new things, and to adapt.  There are lots of ways to do things – figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Part II – Project Management Methodology

Q3.      Your doctoral dissertation talks about the relations between project management methodology and project success. To be brief, what are the main conclusions of the study?


To read entire interview, click here

Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2021). Project Management Should Be Context-based: Interview with Michael Pace; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pmwj109-Sep2021-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Michael-Pace.pdf

About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review (PMR) Magazine and website. She has interviewed over sixty top experts in the field of project management. Before joining PMR, she once worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in training centers in Beijing. Beginning in January 2020, Spring also serves as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal.

For work contact, she can be reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

To view other works by Spring, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/yu-yanjuan/