When the phrase 'project management' is mentioned there are generally one of two industries/sectors that come to mind, construction or IT. But in today's business environment, if you were to walk into any given office space, you would find several employees running projects of various sizes (whether a recruitment campaign, setting up of new procedures, organising of an event, or moving offices) each project being used as a mechanism for the creation of business change and purposed to add to business value.
The reality is that often projects are being run with managers who have a natural or intuitive ability to 'get things done' but who also lack the support and/or knowledge necessary to make the process as efficient as possible. For some time, IT has been tasked with running projects with one of the most common results being that business has become more and more alienated from projects which take on a jargon and structure that most business units are unable to understand or work with.
There is a very real need to equip members of the business community with the skills necessary to run the projects that make up day-to-day work. So, in response to this, PiCubed have developed a short course that deals with the reality of running business projects
. Creating structure in chaos
When trying to create structure in chaos, a good place to start is to identify the type of project you're currently working with - is it the most simple 'Paint by Number' project type? Or the more complex 'Working in Fog' project type which deals with the complexities of running projects where there is no clear consensus between stakeholders on what must be achieved?
A second big challenge that must be tackled when running projects within the business line is prioritisation of project work. Getting predictable access to staff isn't easy and the true availability of team members to work on the project is also likely to be affected by the ebbs and flows of operational work. To make things worse, it is rare that the business project manager has any input to team member performance evaluations. Given that these evaluations are solely performed by the staff's direct managers; it is a reasonable assumption that staff focus is often more on their day-to-day activities than the project activities.Technical project principles
While business projects may not be large, more often than not, they are complex. That's why introductory training courses, focused on technical project principles, so often miss the mark for managers who run business projects. In this case, projects are the best approach for facilitating operational changes and the development of new products, but they are also something that must be done on top of one's day job - and done now! Development for business project managers must provide tools which are immediately of use. It must also help the manager recognise the types of project they are working with and what techniques should be applied when.
Growing capability for delivering projects within the business line is increasingly being seen by organisations as crucial to delivering business strategy. Apart from the fact that there are just too many projects; many projects benefit from being structured and delivered by those people who are closest to wanting the project outcomes, i.e. those who want to make it happen, those who will own the outcomes and will exploit and use the benefits delivered by the investment in the project.
While there will always be a place for the 'professional project manager' on our most complex projects, business project management and the need to develop capability to deliver projects in the business line is here to stay - equip yourself now.