Project Management

Creativity: The Must-Have PM Skill

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.

When I started managing projects, the idea that a PM would need to be creative was rather farfetched. The role was seen as a very structured one that was based on the consistent execution of standardized processes. PMs were valued for their attention to detail, for their conscientiousness and for their ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently.

25 years ago, the idea that a project manager needed to be creative was not only a foreign concept, it would also likely have been seen as a negative. “Creative” would have been interpreted as a reluctance to follow the standard way, to try and find different ways of doing things that were not approved and would therefore risk project failure.

Sad to say, but when I first started managing projects, many organizations were looking to create “cookie-cutter” project managers—interchangeable individuals who all acted in the same way on every project.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that concept. Consistency, attention to detail and the rest are still valuable traits for project managers today, but on their own they aren’t enough. Today’s project managers can’t treat every project in the same way because they aren’t the same. In fact, a single project is likely to evolve and shift significantly during its lifecycle as a result of changing needs, emerging …

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"Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

- Oscar Wilde