First, why do we need project management anyway? Projects are about
change and we are certainly experiencing a lot of that! According
to Cooke-Davies: "Growth, change and projects go together. We face
an increasingly turbulent world in which business becomes faster
paced more complex and more competitive. In this environment the
rewards will go to those organizations which are more flexible,
more in tune with their customers' wants, more focused on their
main product or service, and more professional in every aspect of
Modern project management is designed specifically to deal with
this situation. With flexible project teams and resources focused
on the needs of the enterprise, project-based planning and implementation
enables the alignment of corporate effort with corporate strategy.
Managing by projects helps not only to accomplish this goal but
also to develop those qualities of initiative and effectiveness
that senior management must have if it is to survive in the future.
Indeed, two of the largest project management organizations in the
world, the Project Management Institute (US) and the International
Project Management Association (Europe), share the same strong perception
of project management. That is, the creative concept of project
management is universal and generic, crosses all cultural, national
and linguistic barriers, and that many of the problems inherent
in creating change or adapting to change are common to all.
Some corporate cultures are much more supportive of project working
than others. Top managers who plan to introduce the project management
discipline, or who wish to improve existing project performance,
must pay attention to cultural, structural, practical and personal
elements. Project management demands quality information, discipline
and goal-orientation and requires team-working skills, rather than
rigid functional divisions. Its primary focus is on what has yet
to be done, and who will do it, rather than the achievements of
the past. It is as much about mobilizing the energies of diverse
team members as it is about procedures, tools and techniques.
For the benefits of project management to be realized, it has been
suggested that three principle ingredients must first be in place.
- Support from senior management
- Agreement and commitment at the level of responsibility; and
- A willing acceptance at the level of impact.
As Konosuke Matsushita, Executive Director of Matsushita-Electric
observed in comparing Western and Japanese management styles: "...
for us, the core of management is precisely the art of mobilizing
and pulling together the intellectual resources of all employees
... only by drawing on the combined brain power of all its employees
can a firm face up to the turbulence and constraints of today's
environment." In other words, the leaders of the organization
must be committed to the concepts of project management and its
application and be willing to establish the necessary organizational
culture for it to germinate and grow.
Project managers are sometimes selected for the depth of their
technical competence alone. This can be a mistake. Certainly, he
or she must have a good understanding of the technical nature of
the project in hand to be able to separate real issues from vested
interests. But the primary areas of competence required by every
project manager include communication; the ability to get the best
out of the real specialists; and planning, forecasting and decision-making
skills ø the very stuff of future senior management!
1. From original notes assembled to
author A Framework for Project and Program Management Integration,
Project Management Institute, 1991
2. Abstracted from T. Cooke-Davies, Return
of the Project Managers, Management Today, BIM, UK, May 1990
3. Agreement between the Project Management
Institute and the International Project Management Association dated
October 16,1990, p3
4. A. S. Humphreys, Business Planning
and Development Inc., BIM (UK) Report, June 1986, p81
5. D. I. Cleland, Project Management:
Strategic Design and Implementation, Tab Books, Inc., PA, 1990,