Interview with Tim Jaques


Driving Innovation Through Projects

Interview with Tim Jaques

Global Director for Special Interest Groups
International Project Management Association

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


Introduction to the interviewee

Tim Jaques, an avid writer, presenter, and facilitator, has been exploring, thinking, speaking, and writing on the topics of project management, organizational change, culture, and human performance for more than two decades. As the IPMA Global Director for Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Tim supports the IPMA vision of promoting competence throughout society to enable a world in which all projects succeed. Tim’s work in IPMA focuses on connecting global experts to solve some of the world’s most important and complex challenges through the development of special interest groups around topics as diverse as Innovation, Smart Cities, Smart Rural, Artificial Intelligence and Mega Projects.

In business, Tim’s work today focuses on business transformation and workplace performance through his company Teaming Worldwide. Tim has worked with a variety of private and public sector clients including General Electric, Toshiba, Tufts University, the US Army and US Postal Service. Teaming Worldwide delivers professional development and performance consulting, re-imagined using the latest science in adult learning, motivation and performance.

Tim’s core capabilities include project and program management, performance improvement, execution and operations, organizational change management, IT transformation, and business strategy. Tim co-authored the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Individual Competence Baseline (ICB) 4.0. He has published two books on US Federal government PM practices and written numerous articles on project management, organizational change and transformation.

Besides, Tim is a past vice-president of IPMA-USA and has held numerous board positions.



Part Ⅰ: Project Managers Should Be Innovators


Q1.      Many project managers do not see innovation as part of their job. Why do you believe project managers should consider themselves innovators?

Tim Jaques (Jaques):   Innovation is simply the act of creating new ideas and solutions to known or unknown problems. And project managers do this all the time.

The challenge is that project managers have different orientations that define “done”, and different organizations implement different levels of innovation depending on the scope and scale of the disruption. Consider the matrix below.


Figure 1: The impact of PM orientation on degree of innovation

The graphic shows that, with a given project manager orientation – inward or outward – the focus of a project will tend to be more oriented toward satisfying scope of the project versus satisfying the market need for the innovation. Of course, project managers must satisfy project requirements. However, the speed of change and faster cycle times for new products can blow up traditional project processes. Sequential, or even agile development techniques, may result in missed opportunities to pivot the project or product in order to capture the real business value from an iterative innovation series.

We need to do a better job of inviting project managers to rethink their classic definitions of “project”. The work of a project manager has always been changing. From the earliest production lines to today’s most audacious mega projects, we have seen a progression from highly-engineering focused, to more design oriented.

Not all project managers are innovators at heart; however, I believe that project managers should be skilled in the modern practices of change and innovation. It helps to see innovation in the context of history. If we go back to the earliest days of formalized project management – the 1930s and 40s – the world was grappling with innovation in nearly every corner of our lives, from electricity and plumbing, to automobile production, flight, public works projects, weapons and defense, and food supply. These industries used the starting pieces of project management –schedules, resource charts, material inputs – all of the essential logic of project management – in an unconscious development process.  Over time, a few items had direct applicability to modern project management such as Frederick Taylor’s work on scientific management and Henry Gantt’s now famous chart. Therefore, project management comes from a deep well of innovation and progress.

Q2.      You said project managers are a natural fit for leading innovation initiatives. Why?



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 (2020). Interview with Tim Jaques; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IV, April. To access interview, go to https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/pmwj92-Apr2020-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Tim-Jaques.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/