Thirty+ Years of Developing and Assessing



using Project Based Learning –

Notes from the Field and “Lessons Learned”



By Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo

Jakarta, Indonesia


This paper was originally presented at the 2nd annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, the USA, in June 2015. It was republished as a “2nd Edition” in the PM World Journal, Vol. IV, Issue VII – July 2015 “Producing Competent Practitioners Using Project Based Learning” and is being updated to reflect changes in the underlying specifications and modifications based on “Lessons Learned” over the past 7 years.

For background information, the author is not an academic. He attended an agricultural trade school (Future Farmers of America- FFA) and, after graduation, joined the carpenters union, where he progressed through the construction trades from apprentice to journeyman to master carpenter and builder, as well as being a PADI SCUBA diving instructor for 35 years along with being a private pilot with 190 hours flying the Alaska Bush, and for the past 30 years has been developing and delivering Competency-Based training and Capacity Development to mid-career path professionals around the world in applied Asset, Portfolio, Program and Project Management.

His first exposure to “project-based learning” at the university level came while an undergraduate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute during the early 1970s. Back then, WPI was one of the “early adopters” of “Project-Based Learning” and is now recognized as being one of the global leaders in the field with their “Center for Project-Based Learning.”

Having grown up in a “project-based environment,” it was only natural that as his career evolved, he built around his life experiences in project management, and now as he approaches retirement age, he would like to share these experiences and “lessons learned” as both a practitioner as well as a recognized academic in the field with others. Sharing what he has learned along the way hopefully will make your job as a “project professional” a little bit easier and more likely to be “successful”?

This paper is designed to illustrate Step by Step how he and his team have developed and delivered COMPETENT PRACTITIONERS using Project Based Learning by applying the 7 Project-Based TEACHING PRACTICES to create a tested and PROVEN 7 Project-Based Design Elements [1]

This paper also challenges the underlying CONTENT, noting that since at least the 1996 PMBOK Guide, PMI advocated “those practices, tools, and techniques used on MOST projects MOST of the TIME,” meaning “average” practices? Then we wonder why, in 36 years the PMBOK GUIDE has been in circulation, we have yet to see any measurable improvements in project success rates?

For 10+ years, we have been compiling and publishing:

  • Over 1300 pages of “best-tested and PROVEN PRACTICES;.”
  • 700+ pages of tables, charts, graphs, and images;
  • 200+ Excel and Word TEMPLATES;
  • Accessible for VIEWING by ANYONE at NO COST;
  • To DOWNLOAD requires paying a nominal membership fee (adjusted for PPP using Big Mac Index);
  • Under Creative Commons Licence Attribution-Shar Alike (BY SA) v 4.0.

Our E-book is updated QUARTERLY and is open for ANYONE to CONTRIBUTE and for ANYONE to COMMENT or CRITIQUE. (NO “GATE-KEEPERS”) (Som Conditions/Constraints APPLY)

To access our FREEPMO Handbook of “Best Tested and PROVEN PRACTICES”-


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this paper: Giammalvo, P. D. (2022). Thirty+ Years of Developing and Assessing COMPETENT PROJECT PRACTIONERS using Project Based Learning – Notes from the Field and “Lessons Learned”; PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/pmwj120-Aug2022-Giammalvo-30years-of-developing-and-assessing-competent-project-managers.pdf

About the Author      

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS

Jakarta, Indonesia


Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, is a Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. www.build-project-management-competency.com. He is noted for the development and delivery of graduate level, blended learning curricula designed for the mid-career path, English as Second Language (ESL) professionals to develop competency in the local practitioner and build capacity for the local organizations. For 25+ years, he has been developing and delivering Project Management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia Pacific, the Middle East, West Africa, and Europe.

He is also active in the Global Project Management Community, by playing a “thought leadership” role for the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACEI) http://www.aacei.org/ since 1991; He has also been active in two IPMA member organizations: The Green Project Management Association (GPM) http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/ where he served on the Certification Board of Directors for two years and the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management http://www.asapm.org/ for which he served for four years on the BoD as Director of Marketing. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS), www.globalpmstandards.org, Sydney, Australia and is active as a regional leader. Currently, he is a compensated consultant to the International Guild of Project Controls. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild  as the primary author of their “Compendium and Reference” as well as the chief architect of their competency-based credentialing program. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/certification

He has spent 35 of the last 50 years working on large, highly technical international projects, including such prestigious projects as the Alyeska Pipeline and the Distant Early Warning Site (DEW Line), upgrades in Alaska and the Negev Airbase Constructors, Ovda, Israel and the Minas Oil Field in Rumbai, Sumatra. His current client list includes Fortune 500 major telecommunications, oil, gas and mining companies plus the UN Projects Office and many other multi-national companies, NGO organizations and Indonesian Government Agencies.

In addition to 45+ years of hands-on field experience, Dr. Giammalvo holds an undergraduate degree in Construction Management, his Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and was awarded his PhD in Project and Program Management through the Institute Superieur De Gestion Industrielle (ISGI) and Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Lille (ESC-Lille) under the supervision of Professor Christophe Bredillet.  “Dr. PDG” can be contacted at pauldgphd@gmail.com.

To view other original work by Paul Giammalvo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-paul-d-giammalvo/

[1] Buck Institute’s Gold Standards for Project Based Learning and Teaching https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl