Project Management

Is There Still a Place for New 'Traditional' Project Managers?

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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

An organization that I regularly work with has decided that starting this year, it will no longer train new project managers on traditional project management techniques. New PMs in that organization will no longer learn about Gantt charts, work breakdown structures, estimating techniques or even the accepted approaches to risk management.

When I found that out, I just had one rather obvious question: Why?

The company’s response was that it already had a lot of project managers who knew those techniques, and if it needed to add or replace any of them, there were many more PMs in the market. And the company felt that these traditional techniques were becoming obsolete as project delivery evolved.

It didn’t just mean that agile was becoming more important, it was referring to the way that projects themselves were changing—the evolution of projects to products in software development, and the focus on shorter projects delivered at a faster cadence to reflect the acceleration of business, for example. The organization even cited the growth of hybrid, which put more autonomy in the hands of the project manager and placed less emphasis on standard approaches.

If this one company is taking this course of action, then I suspect others are, too—with many more considering it. If it becomes too much of a trend, then companies that offer training will …

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- George Bernard Shaw