Professional Project Management as a core competency for all managers

Recently I had the opportunity to train a group of young and dynamic MBA final year students who elected project management as their elective. The syllabus comprised of Predictive, Agile and Hybrid Project Management. Contrary to the earlier batches, the students with engineering background in this batch was less. That prompted me to think about the relevance of professional project management to all managers or would be managers, irrespective of their educational background. What is the core skill that is required to be successful as a manager?. What differentiates a manager from an individual contributor. It is definitely the ability to get things as per specifications (requirements) on time and within budget through a team. This is the skill every successful manager should posses. That realisation helped the whole team, including me to attribute a bigger and relevant cause to the program. The realization of the relevance of professional project management as a core skill for all managers / would be managers, to succeed in todays challenging professional environments bonded us together for almost 30 hours spread across 30 days, and hopefully the mentoring will continue.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the program

  • Proactive stakeholder management is key to success
  • Everything starts with defining the deliverables using a product breakdown structure
  • Without a work breakdown structure, accurate estimates are impossible. Even project strategy can be flawed
  • A well defined work breakdown structure will help to negotiate better for resources and cost. Without a WBS, one will never be able to defend their estimates.
  • Projects do not fail at the end. Projects fail at the beginning, due to incomplete scope definition, improper scope management. The failure will get revealed towards the end.
  • Without the knowledge of critical path, it is impossible to control the schedule
  • Relying on lead indicators (forecasts) help managers to be pro-active than reactive
  • These days projects are neither completely agile or predictive. Most of the projects rely on hybrid approaches
  • The co-location of teams is no more practical. Majority of the projects have distributed / work from home (wfh) teams, hence collaboration tools like Jira (Agile), SmartProject (Predictive Project Management / Digital PMO) is important
  • In a nutshell, all managers (rather all professionals) will benefit phenomenally by applying relevant project management practices for goal achievement on time, within budget and with stakeholder satisfaction / delight

About the blogger

Abrachan Pudusserry is an highly qualified and experienced professional with in-depth understanding about professional project management (Agile, Predictive, Hybrid). He is one of the founding members of Project Management Research Institute. He is also heading Wrench Academy, the education of division of Wrench Solutions, the makers of SmartProject Digital PMO. He is also a visiting faculty at XIME.