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Project Managers are Solution Partners

April 21, 2013 Leave a comment

A project manager agrees to manage a technical project that was two years old and had two previous project managers.  Given repeated failures and lack of progress, the assigned engineering team had little faith that the new project manager would make a difference.  But the project had the attention of the executive steering committee and canceling it was not an option.  So the project manager went on a mission to turn things around, and discovered that disruptions and other work requests interrupted engineers to the point that they were unable to complete project work.  The engineering team did not have a proper intake and tracking process for engineering work, so the project manager created an automated solution to track new work requests.  Once in place, productivity increased more than 60% for the entire engineering organization and the project manager was promoted to portfolio manager.

Partners

Some business executives and managers see project managers as service suppliers, delivering projects as a service, and they see value in that when they have a solution to deliver and it is delivered to their satisfaction.  But think about the social and political capital you pick up during your journey to deliver projects, and how you can use that to inspire others to think outside the project and consider the many other benefits you can bring to management as their partner.

ESI’s Project Management 2013 trend number 3 claims, “Project management is not just for project managers anymore”, so expect to see more non-project managers becoming “project manager by accident” this year, a trend that can either make or break us.  Inexperience will show as more projects fail this year, adding to another ongoing problem that shows up in the 2013 survey as business leaders continue to question the value of project management and whether or not to invest in experienced project management resources.   Experienced project managers know how to think outside their project and add value in other ways, so don’t’ limit yourself to project delivery as a service; contribute to the big picture through solution delivery as a service.  Be a solution partner and you will help move the project management profession to the next level.

Project Managers are Strategic Enablers

April 13, 2013 Leave a comment

The project manager says to the PMO manager, “2013 is going to be a busy year for us, with all of the new projects starting in just a few short weeks.  I hope we have enough project managers to handle the workload.”  The boss agrees, “Yeah, I just received this year’s list of projects and I think we are in for a busy year too.  We may have to hire a PM or two.  Can you start collecting resumes so we can start the hiring process?”  The project manager goes off to start the screening process and in a few weeks, two new project managers join the team.  Then the finance team decides to cut the budget and some of the new projects.  The PMO manager says, “We seem to have more project managers then we do projects, so let’s have the two new PMs evaluate some project management software for next year’s budget.  I’m sure a new project or two will pop up sooner or later.”

List

What’s wrong with this PMO?  The PMO is not engaged in the strategic planning process so the PMO manager uses duct tape as a remedy.  The PMO manager makes a resource plan and hires new staff based on a list of projects, then once the company cuts the budget, the new project managers have no projects to manage so the PMO manager assigns them to work on something that is not part of the strategic plan, hoping a new project or two pops up in the near future.

Business leaders will invest money in technology and human resources that help companies reach strategic goals and they see value in project management professionals who invest in themselves to become savvy business management leaders.  Today’s project manager adds value when business leaders see them as “strategic enablers”, planning and managing projects that add value to the company’s bottom line.  Just as IT organizations enable their companies to achieve their goals through technology and service management, PMOs enable companies to achieve their goals through strategic solution delivery.  Companies make it possible for PMOs to deliver strategic solutions by engaging them in the strategic planning process.