Recently I had the chance to meet (or e-meet), Jerry Ihejirika. Jerry works tirelessly to promote and improve project management and to help us see the humor in it all. I hope you enjoy getting to know Jerry as much as I have.
pmStudent Community Leader
1. Why don’t you start out by telling us your name and how you got started in project management?
I’m Jerry Ihejirika and my project management journey began in 2008 when I gained admission in the university to study Project Management Technology (PMT). I got my bachelor’s degree in PMT 5 years after and I have been professionally contributing to the promotion and advancement of the project management profession. My project management blog and social media groups have been helpful to many young and aspiring project managers, globally.
2. Where in the world are you? Tell us a bit about your country.
I’m currently based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is a wonderful country that is blessed with rich human and natural resources. Her natural resources, most especially the crude oil, are the main source of income. With the fall in crude oil prices, the Federal and State Governments have awaken from their “sleep” to seek for ways of diversifying the economy which is something that should have been done years ago. From the project management point of view, the awareness level of the profession is above average in 3 major cities: Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, and low in other cities. We have also experienced a lot of abandoned and failed projects in the country, most especially in the public sector.
In March 2010, the then President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan set up the Presidential Project Assessment Committee (PPAC) headed by the then FCT Minister, Engr. Ibrahim Bunu “to assess and provide necessary information on the status of on-going Federal Government projects across the nation.” The committee made an inventory of 11,886 on-going capital projects being executed by the Federal Government, which stood at N7.78 trillion. These drew much attention to the means by which projects are implemented and the monitoring mechanisms set up to monitor those projects. Even till now, the monitoring mechanisms for capital or public projects are still very weak. This is not to say that the country does not have experienced project managers even though more is needed. The “politics of things” and corruption in the public sector contributes more to the high rate of project abandonment and failures in the sector.
3. How do you think your experience in your country shapes how you write about project management?
My knowledge, observations and experiences of projects and project management in Nigeria influences how I write and talk about project management. Most of the early articles on project management that were published on my blog where more of how we can create more awareness, promote and advance project management in Nigeria. Though I still write such articles because the awareness level here is still low and more needs to be done, I have started writing insightful articles on career development because I have observed that most of the young and aspiring project managers here are confused as to how to properly define, plan or advance their project management careers. I have also been writing articles on social media in project management because innovative technologies and digital transformation are both having big impacts on project management and Africa needs to move forward with the change.
4. What type of projects do you work on the most?
I am a Writer and a young Digital Project Manager so I dedicate most of my time in writing articles, managing my blogs, managing my social media activities and managing my clients’ digital projects.
I’m still working on an initiative known as the Project Management for Africa Initiative. The initiative would focus more on the educational aspect of project management in Africa. We want to support universities in Africa and help them produce more qualified project management graduates. We have started gathering rich and current books (hardcopy) on project management and leadership from Authors and publishers in North America, Europe and Australia. The books will be donated to the libraries of universities that are offering a degree program in project management and to persons who are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in project management in Africa.
That’s not all. I recently launched a Project Management Career Clinic. The Career Clinic is working towards collaborating with recognized project management professionals and career experts from various industries and sectors with the aim of offering tailor-made services to our clients. Our mission is to help people define, plan, strategize and advance their project management careers in Nigeria.
5. What inspired you to write about humor and project management?
Wow! The Comedy Project Manager’s Blog is my latest blog. Maybe you don’t know about it, but I do have a way of making people around me laugh. Do not misunderstand me; I’m not a Comedian. I’m just an ordinary guy who wants to bring out the funny and sometimes the annoying side of me and blend it with project management. *smiles*
However, do you know that sometimes an important message can be delivered in a funny or ranting style? Therefore, for some of the articles that would be published on the blog, it’s not only about the jokes, humors or rants, but also about the message.
6. How do you find your stories for your blogs?
Posting consistently is one of the major challenges of blogging.
For the JI’s Blog: I get most of my ideas from reading wide. When I have the time, I read anything that catches my attention or that sounds interesting. I also try to stay current on things happening in the world of project management, blogging and digital media.
For The Comedy Project Manager’s Blog: I get my inspirations from being observant. There are a lot of terminologies being used and many things that are happening in the world of project management, and some are funny! So, I try to look at how I can use some of those terminologies, happenings or events to create an article for the blog. It is more about seeing or hearing something from a different perspective and trying to be creative about it in a way that it would fit the blog.
7. Have you ever had a time when your team did not share your sense of humor?
Actually, there’s no team for now. I get the inspirations all by myself, I do the writings all by myself, I do the second reading and editing all by myself and I manage the blog all by myself. So, it’s a matter of whether my readers do find my articles funny or interesting or not. Maybe tomorrow, there might be a team behind the blog but for now, it’s just me.
8. What else would you like us to know? This is your chance to tell us anything you like.
Let me use this opportunity to once more thank those who have donated books to the initiative. The likes of Elizabeth Harrin, Ranjit Sidhu and Helen Curel. And we are still accepting book and software donations. I also want to thank you, Margaret, for being a part of my “Top Project Management Bloggers’ Interview.”