“Even the dogs may eat of the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table;
and in these days, when the rich in knowledge eat such specialized food at such separate tables,
only the dogs have the chance of a balanced diet.”
Sir Geoffrey Vickers, 1965
Transitioning to the New Reality for Project Managers
In order to position some of GPM Global’s insights into the transitions and evolution of project management we have observed over the past thirty years, we wanted to provide some context based on our years of working with leading standards bodies and professional associations such as (in no particular order):
- International Standards Organization (ISO)
- International Project Management Association (IPMA)
- APMG International
- Global Alliance for the Project Professions (GAPPS)
- American Association of Cost Engineers International (AACEI)
- International Centre for Complex Project Management (ICCPM)
- Project Management Institute (PMI).
As demonstrated by the image above, we believe project managers have to widen their perspective of what disciplines they should be proficient in.
First, is the belief that projects managers should not be clerks just doing what they are told.
We are professionals taking a leadership role in helping the organizations successfully deliver change and obtaining the best benefits with reduced risk and cost. Though there are numerous arguments for and against project management being a profession, with leadership from countries like the United Kingdom and the Association for Project Management (APM) this is becoming a reality.
Migration from Hierarchical Governance to Collaborative and Peer Governance
We are transitioning from the hierarchical model to one where the project manager is a peer to the sponsor.
That is from this outdated model…
To this model…
Project Managers Allegiance Transitioning from Output to Organizational
So what do we mean by that? Simply put, the old model had the project manager only focused on the project and project team, and only deferentially involved with the sponsor and not really involved with the organization. Acceptance, adoption, integration, business case, benefits etc. were entirely in the purview of the sponsor and organization… not the project team.
In reality though, most organizations do not understand projects or change very well at all. As well, most sponsors have no idea what their remit or responsibilities or accountabilities are. The project managers are the change delivery professionals there to help empower the organization to get the biggest bang for their investment buck from the project.
How the Organizational Allegiance Focuses on Benefits and Asset Life Cycle and Sustainability
No longer just focused on the iron triangle (please refer to the blog post (Flaws with the Iron Triangle), which is based on manufacturing and factory theory, but towards a more risk / benefits / asset life cycle / organizationally sustainable focus to reduce risk, improve the asset life cycle and protect the organizations reputation. A perspective of this evolution in our profession is outlined below:
The project managers have to help the sponsor and the organization to achieve the output and the benefits that the organizational objectives and strategy demand.
In order to accomplish this though, the project manager has to be aware and competent in the whole asset life cycle perspective.
Modern Project Management Competencies and Disciplines
This requires the project manager to have an awareness (and even expertise) of the following disciplines:
- Value Management
- Risk Management
- Asset Life-cycle Management
- Benefits Management
- Business Case
- Support Structures (PMO) and Communications, Reporting and Escalation
- Portfolio Management
- Programme Management
- Project Management
- Team Management (i.e. agile, scrum and work packages)
- Project Controls
The point being that the demands on the new project manager are significantly different from those in the past. As outlined in the post The Future of Project Managers, the demands on project managers are exponentially increasing.
Lets open it up to be a little more complicated. The International Project Management Association (IPMA) recently released the IPMA Competence Baseline 4 edition (ICB4), which is a brilliant reference that provides the key competencies for project managers, as outlined before:
Start with the basics. Remember though, the basics include a solid understanding of the following:
A simpler model is below…
If you are not rock solid in these areas you have no business anywhere in the game.
The other evolution for project managers beyond the triple iron constraint and the relationship with the organization, leveraging the developing sustainability focus, will be supporting the UN Global Compact Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a planned focus for all humanity.
If you want to get ahead of the game though, get proficient in the organizational focus of sustainability and social responsibility… which adds another layer of complexity and interest in the project management space, back makes you far more valuable to the organization.
March 1 2017: GPM Global is currently changing its social media and membership strategy. The intent is to consolidate articles to ensure they do not duplicate information, and to provide relevant information for each of our stakeholders. As such, some of the more focused GPM Global intellectual property, research and references will be moved to the GPM Global Membership site, whereas the more public information will remain on the public GPM Blog and on our articles on partner sites.
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