‘A Bit of Immortality’
PMIEF connects generations through experiences, education, and donations
Kris Troukens, PMP, trusts in the circle of life—that inherent power of one generation to pull the next into a sustainable rotation. “The most important thing we can do is invest in young people who will be running the project-management ship in 10 or 20 years,” he says, speaking from his home outside Brussels. For Troukens, that investment takes the form of substantial Leadership Society donations to PMIEF.
“The foundation is comprised of great people bringing wonderful programs to the world. But with my time in short supply I wondered what I could do to help. Then I realized there is something important I could and must do: make a donation. I did and I will continue to do so,” says Troukens.
While serving as a PMI Region Mentor of a seven-country territory, Troukens first observed—and became intrigued with—foundation initiatives undertaken by PMIEF Community Engagement Committee volunteers, Alfonso Bucero, PMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow, and Italian Walter Ginevri, PgMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow, now on PMIEF’s Board of Directors.
“Alfonso built and promoted programs within schools,” Troukens explains. “He got young kids working—even playing—with project management concepts without their realizing they were doing ‘projects.’ He avoided adult terminology like ‘risks, milestones, deliverables’; rather, he used words children understood; he spoke their language.” Via fun activities, children were taught to consider beginning, middle, and finishing actions required, “…and by the end they had absorbed elementary projects management skills.”
Here is one such example: a classroom was charged with organizing an annual school picnic. The students and their teacher met weekly with a PMI chapter volunteer to consider costs and funding of deliverables, in this case ice cream, waffles, and hot dogs.
“By year’s end they were doing budgeting, timelines, and risk analysis, all without using those words,” details Troukens. “Furthermore, that teacher was then equipped to guide another teacher and classroom the following year.” And the circle continued.
Ginevri employed similar educational principles in Italy, extending them to children as young as five years old. “He teamed with his wife, a primary school teacher, and it worked out great. I thought: ‘This should be happening everywhere,’” says Troukens.
Strong in his belief that people need project management in every undertaking and every profession, Troukens stresses, “Every job I ever did was strongly related to project management.” He points to having helped launch Disneyland, Paris, as part of the hotel IT infrastructure team, and years with IBM Belgium, as prime examples. Today he maintains his own project management consultancy, which works on projects related to Europe’s new data privacy law, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), coming into effect. Spare time is split between project management work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in remote locations, and an active family life with his wife and two sons.
“I follow PMIEF initiatives via newsletters, annual reports, articles, and personal connections,” he adds, “Now when I see photos of foundation representatives delivering materials to classrooms, even though I am not in the pictures, I am. I see myself standing behind them, helping to make this happen. At some point, perhaps as we age, we must give pieces of our knowledge and experience to the younger generation. It’s like achieving a bit of immortality.”