Project Management

Hybrid PM: The Organic Option

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.

Having been actively managing projects since 1971, I have learned that I don’t know a lot. But I do know this: Successful project managers have been using tools, concepts and techniques long before the formalization of the PM process.

Clearly, dating back at least as far as the building of the pyramids, there were people charged with planning, resourcing, tracking, directing, collaborating, progress reporting and more. Perhaps the first big project in modern times was the building of the transcontinental railroad.

Over time, ways of communicating and formalizing project management took place. But through it all, most seasoned project managers practiced the basics and considered all the tools and techniques as assets to use as (and when) needed. Thus, it’s safe to say that “hybrid project management”—using the tools needed to get the job done—has been with us since ancient times.

Yes, it is important to have a common language and terminologies in order to share and have conversations about project management. The rub comes when we overthink things and get so preoccupied with labeling that our focus gets misdirected. We begin to concentrate on form rather than function.

For example, on more than one occasion after completing a successful project (one that achieved the objective of being on time and under budget, garnered buy-in and …

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