In her article, ‘Adapt or Die’: latest challenge for project managers, Marilyn de Villiers writes on how the traditional role of the project manager was disappearing in many organizations and that “The key thing now is to have a bigger toolbox”. While traditional approaches can still work but we must be able to utilize Agile, Lean and other creative approaches. For example, just say you have a steering committee that will generally meet every three months; this ‘steer’ needs to be far more rapid than that. [end].
My views are much more complicated. Yes, our profession need to change to keep up with time. But not all changes are good change. And it is our job to determine the best way to change. Take the steering committee example of 3 months, most of the project manager would prefer more executive involvements. But why the current 3 months? Is it because these executives are simply lazy and don’t care or are their entrenched reasons such as they are just really busy people and some of the projects are not that important to them?
I suspect latter is the case in many situations, and thus, before project managers suggest a more frequent meeting or changing from traditional to agile PM, ask your organization these two basic questions: 1) Do the executives want to change? and 2) Are they willing to do what it takes and pay the price of change? You see, most changes in organizational processes are not peripheral, it’s cultural. Adopting a new set of project management has organizational-wide implications, and unless how decisions are made in your organization, having more meetings is just that – more time wasted in meetings. PMI has a classic paper taking a comprehensive deep dive on this titled, “A case study on the adoption of project management in an organization” Burgan, Stephen C. | Burgan, Diana S. outlining the complexity in adopting project management in an organization. – Prof. Dr. Te Wu, the founder Project Management training firm PMO Advisory is among the few people in the world certified in Project (PMP), Program (PgMP), Portfolio (PfMP), and Risk Management (PMI-RMP).