Project Management

17 years ago I became a qualified project manager (PMP) after 'falling into' project management aeound 2000 as it emerged as the way to manage 'unique' tasks e.g. the first time of doing something. I was in IT software development where any creation represents a new unique product, and probably some innovative technology within.

In my recent academic studies I've been reading about accidental project managers being quite common and thought of myself as one, even though IBM supported me with training, after the new title was bestowed.

Then recently, after 15 years of converting myself into a professional coach, while project management developed programme and portfolio management, then promoted Agile, I found myself commenting rather negatively on an article that seeks to give more support to accidental project managers. My perspective was one of wonder - why is project management still being done by accidental project managers? I'm guessing it is the same problem as I had - management is an 'overhead' rather than a 'direct' resource; therefore appears expensive and at risk of being squeezed. This week I heard the term 'producers' used in a small Agile thus flat organisation - it reminded me that we all have to prove the value of our work.

Maybe project management is a viable career for you, especially if you are working towards managing large projects. On the other hand, maybe it has had its day and it is the project management skills that we need to be highlighting, so they are more valued and understood, and shared. Particularly, now that machines can take the brunt of planning and analysis work, the soft skills and the value of the 'glueing' activity project managers have done around teams, customers and sponsors must be highlighted. There will always be a need for skills in getting a project completed, organising people to get work done - and to take responsibility as well as be innovative - and personally cope with all the pressures those skills imply.



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