Following is the speech by Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, Director of Information Technology Services, at the Project Management International Conference 2003 today (December 4):
Ms Wong, Mr Lau, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. I am honoured to have the opportunity to officiate at the opening ceremony of the Project Management International Conference 2003 today. The conference is the first of its kind to be held in Hong Kong. It provides an excellent forum for project management professionals, business executives and industry practitioners to exchange ideas and to share their knowledge and experience with each other. Participants will also learn about the latest trends in the development of new tools and skills in project management (PM).
The theme of today's conference is "Leverage the Power of Project Management". Without any doubt, PM is powerful in helping enterprises enhance their productivity, competitiveness and corporate image. By applying PM skills and techniques, an enterprise may assume complete oversight and control of its production processes systematically. The scope of PM is comprehensive: programming and scheduling; product or system analysis and design; manufacturing, construction or development; testing, quality assurance and risk assessment; resource utilisation; and time and cost control. PM applies to many types of industry and business, but has been found to be especially useful in the fields of engineering, construction, information technology and logistics projects. Increasingly, PM has been recognised as an area of specialisation. This can be reflected by the continuous increase in membership of the Project Management Institute (PMI). In the past 10 years, the number of PMI members in the world has grown from a few thousands in 1992 to well over 90,000 by year 2002. Since the first introduction of the Project Management Professionals (PMP) Certification Examination in Mainland China in 2000, more than 500 persons have obtained the certified PMP qualification.
The ultimate concern of PM is three-fold: the project meeting its targets, the project on schedule, and the project cost within budget. Like business enterprises, Government departments also recognise the importance of PM and the relevance of PM methodologies, quality assurance and international standards. They adopt established PM methodologies and tools in the planning, implementation and review of projects especially those in the building, construction, engineering and IT fields. They also require their contractors to do the same in outsourcing arrangements. In fact, very often the strength of the PM methodologies proposed, and the maturity of the contractors' capability, are instrumental to success in public tenders.
As the Hong Kong economy undergoes restructuring, local enterprises are obliged to upgrade their skills in innovation and design as well as PM and communication. That is the only way to sustain their competitiveness vis-a-vis the up-and-coming enterprises in Mainland China. The construction industry and related professions such as architecture and surveying stand ready to face their challenges, and will do so effectively based on their experience gained in the management of numerous urban development projects during the last several decades. By comparison, the IT industry is just a kid, if not a new born baby. Of the 720 or so IT firms, mainly in the software engineering or development business, nearly 90% are SMEs. They are less mature than their counterparts in the construction and engineering industry. Nevertheless, they are also increasingly aware of the importance of professionalism in PM and are keen to upgrade their capability. As an encouragement, the Government has established a number of funding schemes in order to promote the adoption of international quality standards such as ISO 9000 and CMM, or Capability Maturity Model, by the local IT industry. These include the setting up of a CMM Assessment Grant to assist IT firms in adopting CMM. In addition, the Government has also established a number of other funds such as the Innovation and Technology Fund and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund to support local enterprises in R + D overseas promotion, training and development.
The Government places a lot of emphasis on project control and quality assurance in the development of its IT projects. All government IT projects have to be managed under an internationally recognised or commonly used PM and quality management methodology. It requires its contractors to do the same. In this regard, over 88% of the new IT projects were outsourced in 2002/03. Since last year, the Government has adopted a flexible approach which allows the contractors to use their PM methodologies, for example, PM2, PRINCE and other international standards.
Hong Kong's economic integration with the Pearl River Delta (PRD) has moved a big step forward with the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which will come into effect fully in less than a month's time. It will not only create more new opportunities in the trade of goods and services between the Mainland and Hong Kong but also open the door to foreign companies which may find a strategic partner in Hong Kong and explore with it together the vast Mainland market.
The Government will continue to support and promote Hong Kong's professionals to enable them to extend their operations into the Mainland. PM is among the range of professional services that Hong Kong companies have a competitive edge. Last year, the Government established the Professional Services Development Assistance Scheme (PSDAS) with an allocation of HK$100 million. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide financial support for activities aiming at enhancing the professional standard and external competitiveness of Hong Kong's professional services sector. A total of 55 projects have been approved under the scheme with a total grant of HK$22.56 million so far. About 10 cases are being considered at the moment.
Today and tomorrow I am sure you will find the PMI Conference 2003 both informative and stimulating. I would like to thank the Hong Kong Chapter of the PMI for organising this meaningful and timely event, and the supporting organisations for their participation and contributions.
Ends/Thursday, December 4, 2003