Tribute to Russ Archibald



Russell D. Archibald: 1924 – 2020

Project Management Icon


By Friends, Colleagues, David Pells

In many countries worldwide




Russ Archibald, an icon in the project management professional world, passed away on 3 May 2020 of natural causes at the age of 96.  The immediate reaction was an outpouring of condolences, memories and tributes from his many friends around the world.  One of the most respected and well-liked project management experts in the world, Russ left a distinguished body of work related to the management of projects, programs and portfolios – articles, books, papers, presentations, even utube videos.  He lived life as a student, musician, aviator/soldier, engineer, international project manager, executive, project management professional, then author, consultant and educator of thousands; he influenced many more.  He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather and a kind human being. He was a long-time supporter of the PM World Journal and its predecessor, PM World Today.  He was a PMWJ global advisor, often providing comments, feedback and original works for publication.  He was also a mentor and good friend over the last two decades.  Most of all, he was an inspiration to me and to all who knew him.  He inspired us all to think more, to do more, to be more.  This tribute is to document a little more about Russ Archibald, to share personal tributes to him from his friends around the world along with my own, and to pay his memory the respect that it so deserves.  And it’s for his family.

David L. Pells
Editor/Publisher, PMWJ
May 31, 2020


Russell Archibald, one of the world’s best known and most popular project management experts, passed away at his home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 at the age of 96.  With Marion, his wife of 74 years, at his side, he died of natural causes and was at peace at the time of passing.  According to his family, his ashes were interred in a special wall of St. Paul’s Anglican Church of San Miguel.  He was survived by his wife Marion, daughters Barbara and Danielle, son Mark, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many, many friends around the world. In leu of flowers, the family asked that donations in his name be made to the San Miguel el Grande Pro Musica Association Scholarship Fund.  Russ’ obituary and donation information can be found at http://www.promusicasma.org/.

Russell Dean Archibald, PMP was a founding trustee and member #6 of the Project Management Institute (PMI), today the world’s largest professional organization serving the project management field. He presented the first paper at PMI’s first conference in Atlanta in 1969, presented keynote presentations and papers at many other PMI conferences over the years, was PMI vice president and program chair of PMI’s first Seminars/Symposium in 1970, received the PMI Fellow Award in 1989, served as President of the PMI Southern California Chapter during 1991-92, and received the Jim O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award from the PMI College of Scheduling in 2006. He actively supported the formation and growth of the PMI Mexico Chapter in Mexico City, and spoke at many other PMI chapters over the years.

The late Eric Jenett, PMI Founder/Fellow on left
Russ Archibald, PMI Founding Trustee/Fellow, on right
Houston, TX, 1971


Jim O’Brian, Russ Archibald, Shane Archibald, Stu Ockman, 2006


Jim O’Brian, Eric Jenett, J. Gordon Davis, Russ Archibald, Chicago, 2007

Russ (as he was known to his friends) who happened to be working in England at the time, was also a founding member (#3) of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK in 1972.  He was later named an Honorary Fellow of APM, maintaining many friendships among APM leaders over the decades.  While living and working in Europe in the 1970s, he met the leaders and became active in the International Project Management Association (IPMA – initially called INTERNET), serving on the INTERNET Board of Directors during 1979-1990; he presented keynote papers at IPMA/INTERNET International Congresses in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972, Birmingham, UK in 1976, Garmisch-Pertenkirchen, Germany in 1979, and Florence, Italy in 1992.

Russ had more than 70 years of broad international experience in program and project management, as well as operations and engineering management. He described it all as having had three basic careers:



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Editor’s note: This tribute includes condolences, statements and tributes from Russ Archibald’s friends and colleagues around the world.  If you knew Russ and would like to add a tribute, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.com

How to cite this paper: PM World Journal (2020). Tribute to Russ Archibald, Project Management Icon; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/pmwj94-Jun2020-Tribute-to-Russell-Archibald4.pdf