Project management, a concept that has existed for about a century, is still relevant in the public and private sector today. Five core members established the Project Management Institute in 1969 in the United States. After three decades of development, the institute has more than 100,000 members in 125 countries. Its Hong Kong branch began in 1998 and has 450 members. Internationally, more than 60 per cent of the institute's members are in the information technology sector, while the rest work in industries including aerospace, business management, construction, engineering, financial services and telecommunications. It is estimated that in Hong Kong more than 10,000 professionals are engaged in project management. Of the institute's 450 Hong Kong members, 70 per cent are in IT, and the rest work in the finance, engineering, insurance and actuarial sectors. 'Project management is the application of knowledge, tools, skills and techniques in a broad range of activities to ensure projects being managed meet objectives, on time and within budget,' says Raymond Wong Ping-kuen, the Hong Kong chapter's vice-president. The concept originated a century ago, but the term 'project management' emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when projects began to demand close analysis because of their size, scope and duration, and the resources required. Governments, corporations and small organisations use project management. The practice enables managers to: establish measures of success, optimise use of organisational resources, incorporate quality principles, and improve customer focus and alignment. It is gaining popularity because it can contribute to profits and efficiency in a fast changing, highly competitive global marketplace. 'IT or infrastructure industries usually deploy teams to work on complex projects either for themselves or for client corporations,' says Mr Wong, who is also an independent IT project consultant. Complex, multimillion dollar projects, such as the Olympics or Disneyland, require sophisticated project management skills spread over a long period of time. Nine areas apply to managing any project: cost, time, scope, quality, communications, human resources, integration, risk and procurement. 'Every projects requires planning, control and execution skills. And what is delivered must be of high quality to meet client expectations. The number of people required to manage a project can range from a small team to more than 100 people,' Mr Wong says. 'A project professional has to acquire a certain level of expertise and knowledge within his or her field, whether it is engineering, product development or financial analysis. When their job reaches a leadership level, they act as project managers or directors.' The institute provides a wealth of literature for professional enhancement and career development. It also organises seminars and conferences. It provides training to help professionals gain accreditation such as Project Management Professional (PMP). 'In our local chapter, we have noted the benefits of accreditation. ... The mainland places great emphasis on formal recognition, and the PMP gives you the right recognition.'