A Young Project Manager with a Purpose

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Anna Johannes is a young businesswoman with a clear vision – to plug the skills gap in the project management field. The Otjiwarongo-born innovator is the founder and CEO of Kitsuwe Project Management Consulting cc (KPMC). The focus of this newly minted consulting firm is to enlarge the pool of certified project managers in the country. The firm offers practical training to those that seek to obtain PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner Certification in Project Management. Offered by Axelos, PRINCE2 is the world’s most widely adopted project management method.

Briefly, tell is who is Anna Johannes?

Anna Johannes hails from Otjiwarongo. She holds a Bachelor of Public Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. She is pursuing a Masters in Monitoring and Evaluation with the Uganda Technology and Management University on distance mode. She is a certified Project Management Practitioner, PRINCE2 by AXELOS Global Best Practice.

Tell us about Kitsuwe Project Management Consulting cc

Kitsuwe Project Management Consulting (KPMC) was established in 2019. However, I have been practising as an independent project management consultant for the past five years. I have been providing consulting services to non-governmental organizations in governance, community development, youth empowerment and the health sector. KPMC provides project coordination support, monitoring and evaluation services and PRINCE2 exam preparatory training sessions.

What motivated you to establish your own company at such a young age?

While consulting, I have come to learn that the reason why many projects fail in Namibia is because, organisations focus mainly on technical details and focus less on business value, thus these projects do not make a positive impact in society. I have seen projects being executed with no consistent methodology for planning and executing. The shortage of professional project management human resources in organizations is causing organizations tones of money due to project failure. I established KPMC with the aim of assisting organizations in Namibia to implement successful projects. We would like to improve the knowledge gaps and skills of project teams by providing project management and results-based monitoring and evaluation capacity building. 

At KPMC, we are committed to provide training to individuals who are considering getting their PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification in Project Management. Obtaining my certification was very costly and it was a lengthy process. Hence, I want to help fellow youth obtain their project management certification at a very low cost. There are very few certified project managers in Namibia because the project management discipline is still in its infancy stage compared to other countries in Africa and the rest of the world.

What is unique about KPMC?

KPMC is determined to plant the seeds of project management in all corners of Namibia. Our services are tailor-made to meet organizational needs. We are committed to enlarge the pool of certified project management professionals in this country.

When did you realise that project management is what you wanted to do?

While in high school, I led mini projects and I enjoyed planning and organizing activities. I was a team leader and everything I put my hands on would come to fruition. I was part of the Otjiwarongo Junior Town Council and we were responsible for implementing community projects. That is where my passion for project management was born. Fast forward, when I came to Windhoek for tertiary education, I wanted to study project management, but none of the tertiary institutions in Namibia offered project management at degree a level. I was left with no option but to enrol for a Bachelor of Public Management. I chose public management because it focuses on public service delivery, and in order to improve service delivery there is a need to manage people, resources and systems.

Project management is male-dominated. Do you think much has improved in terms of gender equality in project management?

I think the reason why the project management field is male-dominated is because in the past, the sector was mostly used in the fields of engineering, construction and information technology, which are dominated by men. It is only of recent when organisations started embracing the project management methodology, especially in development and governance. Yes, there is a need to bring more women into the field, currently there are fewer women than men in managerial positions. People need to understand that project management is not only about managing time, scope and budget. There is a leadership element in project management. Young women should believe in themselves and take up leadership positions in project management, so that we can be the drivers of change that we want to see.

What is unique about female project managers?

The involvement of more women in project management benefits the project management profession by adding new blood and energy.  Soft skills are essential for the success of projects. Research has found that women tend to have greater strengths than males in this area. Women have significantly more of a team management style than men. Women have compassion and they use transformational leadership style to develop and inspire project teams. I am where I am today because I was groomed by an effective female project manager- Ms Naita Hishoono. 

Please share with us some of the success stories of KPMC

As a young project management professional, I am proud to have coordinated a data quality improvement project for an organization working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services. This project led to improved data quality in the health information systems of three big CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) clinics. We introduced discussions about data quality, data use and data demand in health information systems. This is just the beginning. We want to spread out to other parts of the country, especially in rural areas. Organizations spend so much money on importing international experts to provide project management capacity building. These are skills and knowledge that everyone can learn. Our mandate is to facilitate the learning process at low cost using the Namibian project management case studies.

Author: Andreas Thomas