Project Management

Business Demands and Project Managers’ Skills: A Quest for the Right Fit

Enrique Sevilla

In order to answer the question, we first need to imagine the kind of response we are seeking. Should we look for a one-to-one relationship between a project and the fitting manager to run it? Is this systematically feasible for every project at any time in any place?

Our analysis is based on a generic model of a mid- to large-size company, running projects for external customers in different areas of interest and in different business types.

In this context, projects are not executed in an isolated setting. They are usually integrated in the company structure through the organizational concept of a business unit, which represents the specific implementation decisions of the company strategy to run the business. Those business units are, in turn, integrated into higher level units sometimes called management units or vertical markets. In companies with a decentralized approach, project managers are allocated to business units so we can properly say that project managers “belong” to the business units and to the management units where they work.

At the same time, the human resources (HR) department is often handling the manpower of the company with a centralized methodology. This usually means a lack ofauthority to efficiently reallocate the project management resources, if the need arises, because project managers report to the business unit managers …

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