Project Management

We Need to Better Empower 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.

For the last several years, I’ve been talking about project managers and teams becoming more autonomous, and the need for PMs to be empowered to make decisions around their initiatives—and to drive the work in the way they see fit to maintain alignment with the needs of the business.

It’s a trend that’s happening, and in the next few years it’s inevitable that it will accelerate as organizations seek to ensure that their discretionary investments achieve the best possible returns.

However, it’s a trend that isn’t without its challenges. Organizations find it difficult to move away from a traditional command-and-control structure driven by executives, even if they recognize the benefits of having decision making as close as possible to where work is being done. And project managers can sometimes be reluctant to take on accountability for driving key decisions, as they are worried that they won’t be supported, that they lack the skills and experience to make the best possible decisions, or that they will alienate one or more stakeholder groups.

How do we address these challenges? How do we ensure that project managers and teams in the future (the very near future) can be empowered to drive the decisions that organizations need—while still being supported by those organizations? And how can that be achieved in an …

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