Next-Generation PM: What's Old Is New Again?

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

When you look for what makes a project manager a next-generation project manager, you’ll find attributes such as those referenced in Aaron Shenhar’s article “What's the next generation of project management?” on PMI’s website. These include attributes such as:

  • Ability to deal with the strategic and business aspects of projects
  • Ability to articulate the project’s vision and inspire/motivate their teams to achieve that vision
  • Ability to learn and adapt their management style to better manage the project in context to the culture, environment and other constraints.

These attributes are absolutely important; what is lost on me is that somewhere, someone got the notion that these are new to the world of project management. In fact, from day one of my over 30 years of PM experience, these attributes were assumed to be a given to the role by those I worked for. So, beyond having the ability to drive a process based on a work plan that achieves an established objective, project managers are expected to lead, adapt, learn, etc. are what do. Has this truly been lost in the recipe for being a professional PM?

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, it’s clear that there is enough buzz about next-gen PM (NGPM) that it deserves a closer look. What makes NGPM any different from the way successful projects have been run in the …

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