The Changing Definition of Project Manager Success

The absolute minimum criteria for any successful project manager is having a track record of delivering projects on time and on budget. Increasingly project managers are no longer solely evaluated on project performance, but they also need business acumen and organizational agility to survive industry and organizational upheavals.  

So what is business acumen? According to Merriam-Webster it is discernment, especially in practical matters. For project managers in each project domain it could mean:

·         Projects: Appropriately tailoring project management tools and techniques to the complexity and risk of each project

·         Program: Ensuring communication among disparate stakeholders and recognizing and addressing communication issues among disparate project stakeholders while balancing their needs with project goals

·         Portfolio: Implementing governance disciplines while keeping the focus on delivering benefits to the wider organization under time and political pressures.

Discernment choices come a thousand times each day. What issue do I address? How many issues do I address before I risk being buried and not seeing the wider picture for the urgency of the moment. When do I need to motivate resources to participate collaboratively vs. removing decision choices from stakeholders who use those choices to resist change? How much time to I make to grow myself and grow others?

Discernment comes from understanding what is needed to move yourself and your organization to the next level of alignment to enterprise strategy.

What does having business acumen look like?

·         Identifying the corporate strategy

·         Identifying your project, program or portfolio path

·         De-prioritizing anything that isn’t helping you get there

That’s business acumen. That’s being a project manager that can carry on a conversation with senior project management leadership. Those conversations allow you visibility to be assigned to new enterprise project work.

What is organizational agility? Merriam-Webster calls it nimbleness. If the organizational strategy changes, how fast can the portfolio be optimized for the new strategy?

PMI has a new community that is launching this Friday; the Organizational Project Management (OPM) Community of Practice (COP.) It is a virtual community of project management professionals that wants too:

“Integrates project, program, portfolio management practices with management infrastructure of an organization.”

Project managers can help organizations not just implement projects but implement the right projects that delivers benefits that management cares about. It is really a change of focus:

·         From projects to what projects deliver

·         From execution to excellence

·         From best practices to competitive advantage

Do you agree that the definition of project manager success is changing? If so, what is your prescription for helping project managers address the challenge of making project work count?

rosemary hossenlopp-mba,pmp | founder | planning group
po box 985| mountain view , ca 94042 | usa

c: 408.316.7808  |

Copyright (c) 2009 Rosemary Hossenlopp


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