This question has been tossed around at the board meetings of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Chicagoland chapter for several years, ever since the city of Chicago entered its bid to host the 2016 summer Olympics. The reason the Chicagoland chapter of the PMI is interested in the 2016 Olympics is because winning the bid would create a tremendous need for project managers who can lead the thousand of new projects that this opportunity will bring to the city and surrounding area. Besides the obvious construction and transportation infrastructure improvements, there will be many technological improvements which will be required to support communications, scoring, security, and tracking, of the daily activities. Consequently, the leadership team of the PMI Chicagoland Chapter have been working with the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee to make them aware of the Project Management Institute, our certification and the 4200 Chicagoland members that we have available to ensure the successful execution of the Olympics here in Chicago.
As president of PMI Chicagoland, I see this as an “all hands on deck” opportunity for project managers in and around the city. Major corporations throughout the Chicago area are already providing funding and resources to support the initiative to win the bid. Millions of dollars have already been spent on the effort just to win the bid.
If Chicago does win, we will have about six and half years to make this happen. While this sounds like a long time, there is lot to be done. First, there will be shock and awe and celebration. Chicago is a town of celebration, a town with great pride, and we WILL celebrate! But at some point, we will need to start working because we are “The City That Works.” Sitting in an economy that has most arrows pointing down will be a blessing and a curse.
Joseph Norton, PMI Chicagoland’s Vice President of Education (and CTO of Novartis), says there are a lot of great people in Chicago “sitting on the beach.” I know that I have met an enormous amount of talented project managers who are looking for work. For the near term, there will be no problem tapping into those resources to get things started. But as we get closer to 2016, resources will get a little tighter, as companies compete for the remaining project manager pool.
How will your company participate in the 2016 Olympics in Chicago? Have you thought about this yet? If you receive some of these new projects will you be prepared? Do you have the infrastructure to support your company in this effort? Maybe the real question you need to ask yourself is not, “How will my company participate,” but rather, “How CAN my company participate?” This could be a great growth opportunity for your company, but you will need a plan to support that growth, and you will need project managers to support that plan.
I, for one, see the Olympics as a great opportunity for project managers in the Chicago area. I sincerely hope that we win this honor. I know many people will argue that Chicago can’t currently afford to stage the Olympics, but that discussion is better left to a blog for the Economic Times.