Developing the Careers of Others

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Project management has always had a large leadership component to it. In recent years, the increasingly powerful software tools that are available to us have delivered improved automation, integration and reporting that have reduced the amount of manual, administrative work we need to do. That’s resulted in the leadership element becoming even more important. A good PM today will be spending the majority of their time on leadership tasks.

But historically, that leadership has had a short-term focus. PMs have embraced their role as leaders, but generally only in the context of creating a team environment that works for the project they are leading. That’s not inherently wrong, but I don’t believe it’s sufficient. I believe PMs have to take a longer-term leadership view with their teams—they need to help develop the long-term careers of the people they work with.

There’s an obvious challenge here—in the vast majority of scenarios, the team members don’t report to the PM. They have functional managers who they will return to at the end of the project—and they may never work with that particular PM again. There is a significant danger that the career advice and guidance they get from a PM may be at odds with what they get from their line manager—and that assumes they are only working with one project manager. If they…

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