We need to refresh our approach to Project Management
The world changed. Project Management didn’t. Focus should change from delivering on-time and on-budget, to a product or service that people actually use. The shift to a “usage” approach is a huge step for the typical project manager mindset.
After more than 10 years working as a project manager and leading teams of project managers , I’ve seen the good, the bad and ugly. Different approaches, different methodologies, but usually, the same mindset: a good project manager is one that delivers whatever is in the scope in a timely manner using the predefined budget.
But what changed since the first PMBOK was released or Agile Manifesto? A lot! We’ve seen the growth of amazing new companies, services and products, that disrupted industries, markets, competitors and the way we live.
But, in the other hand, we’ve seen also hundreds of new products and services delivered by amazing teams, lead by very good project managers, but in the end “nobody” is using that amazing thing that was carefully produced by that amazing and dedicated team. Or, okay, we have users but they hate the application that they are obliged to use. We all know that tedious enterprise application that we spend hundreds of hours per month, right? For example, that expensive CRM system that the sales team doesn’t want to use, that reporting system that costed thousands of Euros but users don’t recognize value added from it, etc, etc.
95% of the project managers I know are still totally oriented to the same thing they were 15 years ago. Probably they continue to deliver the same old ugly product / service that is a huge success because it was delivered on-time, on-budget, with the expected gross margin (if you are a consultant or manager, you understand what I mean…)! Amazing! So, what’s wrong here? Probably the definition of success is wrong: we should celebrate usage and not the announcement of a new thing.
Things are changing. I know. We all know. Mostly, in my opinion, because of startups. Startups have there focus on exponential usage of there product or service. There focus is not primary budget or the protection of a predefined scope, but the ability to change and ship new features according with almost real time user feedback.
After talking with a few friends that work on startups, I’ve asked: “Do you have project managers in our company?” The answer was: “No, we don’t.” So, how they survive and strive? With different roles and job specs, for sure.
In my opinion project managers should learn new skills in areas that didn’t existed, or were considered, a few years ago. Areas like Product Management, Design, Service-Design, User Experience (UX), Digital Marketing, are just an example.
The world needs project managers. The “hero” that connects the dots. But the PM the world needs is a different one from the past. This is the reason why I’ve decided to create this publication: share my ideas about “The New Project Manager”, hoping to receive feedback from you and, mostly, to learn new things about this really interesting field of study, profession and career.