Brave New World (Part 3)

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

My last two columns have explored the potential implications associated with project management truly becoming a profession. The first column explored the implications on individuals, in terms of increased accountability, liability and educational requirements; while these are considerable, there is also no doubt that there are also positive implications in terms of power, status and money that are associated with the more traditional professions (lawyers, doctors and engineers among them).

The second column explored the same issue from the perspective of the current project management associations, and the changes in role that may result; while these changes are by no means guaranteed, the most significant implication is the increase in local authority to establish, maintain and police the standards of the profession, which could represent a significant shift from the more centralized focus of many current associations.

By far the greatest impact of establishing project management as an actual profession, however, is on the companies that currently hire and engage project managers. Whether these project managers are employees or contractors, the act of establishing a profession of project management will have a significant influence on the dynamics of both sides of this relationship.

If I look at how project managers within most organizations that I have spoken to …

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Women, poets, and especially artists, like cats; delicate natures only can realize their sensitive nervous systems.

- Helen M. Winslow