Inspiring Women in Project Management: Linky van der Merwe

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Linky van der Merwe is a popular project management community online. She is a prolific author and consultant, and is often featured on the ‘top’ lists.
It’s amazing that it took so long for us both to have a real conversation. It’s happening right now! Linky was kind enough to talk with me about the current state of project management in South Africa and her Success Stories Shared initiative.
It’s a pleasure to have you as a friend, Linky! What is the current project management scene in South Africa?
Like many other parts of the globe, the role and responsibilities of project managers have evolved over the past decade in South Africa (SA).
South Africa is experiencing growth in areas such as training and certification, PPM software use, portfolio management, and the existence of PMOs in larger organisations.
The Project Management Institute’s Talent Triangle emphasizes the importance of having skills in leadership, strategy management, and technical expertise. Many SA organizations have realized the importance of educating their PMs in order to be able to deliver successful projects.
Is there a shift in your training?
It is evident in the many training opportunities that are available, from short courses to 12-month Diplomas, project management as an academic subject, as well as the postgraduate program in project management offered by SA universities.
PMI offers a wide range of certifications. Chapters are located in every major city in SA.
Project Management South Africa (PMSA), a registered professional body, was approved by the South African Qualifications Authority in September 2013. It is now able to confer three designations.
Project Manager (PM)
Senior Project Manager (Sr.PM)
Professional Project Manager (Pr.PM).

Many companies have embraced the Agile project approach, which is now a common practice.
Finally, innovation is a major focus due to the complexity of the modern workplace, digital transformation, multi-cultural society, the pace and growing demand for global expansion.
How did you get started in project management?
In 1996, I began my career as a project manager at a large institution in the Financial Services Sector. Later, I moved into project management.
For the past 12 years, as a PMP, I have been full-time working as a Program and Project Manager in various industries, including IT, Telecommunications and Microsoft Consulting Services.
How did you get to where you are now?
Virtual Project Consulting has been my blog about best practices in project management, processes, and tools for 8 years. This is part of my mission to give back to my community.
I offer a hub of resources and reach out to aspiring and existing project managers.
You have a wonderful site. Blogging has provided other opportunities, hasn’t it?
I was privileged to be a contributing writer to the book Strategic Integration of Social Media in Project Management Practice (for which you also wrote a chapter) and to participate on various exciting global blogging initiatives, including interviews and webinars.
You also offer online training.
I have had the privilege of mentoring many new project managers over my career. I was able to see their needs and help them with the difficult role of project manager.
To help new PMs get up to speed quickly, I created an online course called “Growth Program For New Project Managers”. It focuses on key soft skills and technical skills. Candidates receive a personal growth and development plan.