Project Management

How Do I Grow My Business Skills?

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 been an amazingly diverse discipline. Possession of the basic set of PM skills has allowed project managers to work in virtually every industry on all types of projects—and within all areas of an organization.

To some extent, that still applies, but increasingly there are projects—usually the ones that are most closely tied to business strategy—where PMs are expected to have additional skills. They are expected to understand how their projects contribute to business success, how they deliver value to customers and the organization, and how to manage those projects to optimize the delivery of that value.

A lot of those skills are going to be specific to an industry or even a single organization. It’s fine to understand theoretical business concepts, but success is going to come from knowing whether Feature A or Feature B is going to drive more sales of the product you are developing in the market it is being targeted to. You can’t get that from a general business management course.

At the same time, you can’t simply defer those decisions and that understanding to your sponsor and senior stakeholders. They expect you to be able to make tough calls to minimize delays and maximize the ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

How do you do that? How do you develop those business skills while …

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