Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.
Today's marketplace and customers make new demands that fuel complexities in our organizations through a number of external factors. These factors require an organization to become agile to meet the new demands. In many cases the external factors include:
Globalization of world markets, which introduces many organizational dynamics and new ways of working with governments
Continuing evolution and development of technology, coupled with foreign and regional economic investment
Rise of emerging markets, which opens new opportunities for consumer expansion
But beyond external factors, the first and most important issue of complexity is determining the structure of our project management system. This includes the level of project supply and the rate at which they can be staffed by skilled project resources. PMI's 2012 Executive Guide to Project Management showed that over time, those who matured project management in their organization improved their outcomes as depicted in the graph below.
So while it's clear that mature project management practices are beneficial to success, how can an organization build this capacity and resources? Many are prone to take them from more mature industries. For example, as the supply of projects increase, organizations are trying to poach IT project managers or even an SME as the project lead. It is expected that the leaders roll out the new initiative while they may not have knowledge in structured delivery approaches. So what choices do we have in balancing the complex level of supply and the rate of demand for project managers?
My thoughts on what choices we have here are below. They include two traditional options on controlling the level of work and the rate of staffing skilled workers. I'm also offering a third and more innovative perspective, for those who want to increase their agility by changing their management culture.
Option 1 (traditional):
Description: Control the level of the supply and reduce the project intake to focus on fewer initiatives.
Sacrifice business opportunities for flawless planning and execution on the approved business initiatives, only limiting our ability to be agile
Increase the rate in project management knowledge in fewer project managers (decrease in project managers caused by the reduced project intake)
Option 2 (traditional):
Description: Increase the rate of new projects launched and hire more project managers.
This may become increasingly costly for organizations to add headcount if clear benefits cannot be determined
Projects have a defined duration at which at the end of these initiatives, one may need to release these resources and then a knowledge drain may ensue losing organizational capability and capacity
Option 3 (innovative):
Description: Effect a change in corporate cultures by committing the organization to increase project management disciplines across all employees.
Organizations that commit to accepting project management approaches as part of the management behaviors will increase cross-functional collaboration and business agility to drive competitive advantage
A development framework and roadmap will be required for employees to be made aware and trained to accept the methods and tools, and commit to use of the tools in their projects
Which choice represents your organization's preference: to follow the traditional options, or is it time for a cultural change? Explore PMI's Change Management Resources.
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and, if they can't find them, make them."