Project managers need to see the whole raison d'etre of the projects as delivering business benefits and their role as enabling 'value delivery'
A bad project manager can certainly destroy project value, but a good project manger cannot increase the value through the traditional project delivery approaches.
The project manager is a conductor of the orchestra who can influence how well people perform, but cannot give them the skills to do their job.
Project management, therefore, is not the panacea but just one necessary project delivery process.
At the base level the processes are well known, but less is known of the additional processes required for large-scale, complex project delivery where the team dimensions, third-party influences and management techniques need to change.
One reason why so many major projects fail is because those in charge have not changed their behaviours, picked up the new dimensions and refocused their energies in all of the right places. They try to run large projects as if they are the same as smaller projects.
Managing large-scale project takes a different skill set and management style. Some project managers can make the transition, but many cannot. Sustaining a project team's motivation over years is a significant challenge. Ensuring the continuing alignment of all aspects of the project and its interdependent projects is also a significant challenge that many experienced project managers can not do effectively.
Most advanced project management courses have yet to catch up with these additional dimensions and so don't help provide the necessary skills in this area.
This is where advanced project management courses need to focus — on developing leadership, matrix management and other business-oriented skills.
Project managers also have to change their view of projects to a 'value delivery' perspective. They need to see the whole raison d'etre of the projects as delivering business benefits and their role as enabling this.
This may sound obvious but many project managers see their role as solely concerned with just delivering the project and anything to do with benefits and value is the business' concern.
Not any more. Value Management is the now the required theme of every project. Conceiving, planning and running the project to deliver value is the expectation. Many conventional/standard project methodologies do not consider value which is why they are inadequate in the new world.
For further information on Benefits Measurement go to "Benefits Management" at www.beingaprojectmanager.com.
Click here for the introduction to the series "Forget Everything You've Learnt About Project Delivery".
Click here for the last article in this series "Forget Everything You've Learnt About Project Delivery, Part 8: Benefits Measurement".
Jed Simms is CIO magazine's weekly project management columnist. Simms, founder of projects and benefits delivery research firm Capability Management, is also the developer of specialized project management and project governance Web site www.project-sponsor.com
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