Project Management

The Danger of Taking Skills for Granted

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.

I was recently speaking with a group of project managers in an organization that was struggling to deliver successful project outcomes. The PMs were all experienced, but they didn’t seem able to consistently get initiatives across the line in a way that allowed the organization to succeed. The company had asked me to take a look at how it was doing things and make some recommendations.

In talking with these PMs to gain their perspective on the challenges that they were facing, there was an overwhelming sense that they felt that the problem was just about anywhere except with them. As one of them put it, “We’ve all been managing projects for years in different companies, we’ve had all the training and we’re all certified. If the organization approved realistic projects, we would be able to deliver.”

As you might expect, there was a different perspective among other stakeholder groups, and in truth there were many areas of that organization that were problematic. But I want to concentrate on that attitude from the project managers—and in particular the idea that they had the ability to deliver success based on their training and experience. It’s a sentiment that I hear a lot, and while there is some truth to it, there are also a lot of dangers.

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