Project Management for every employee?

This blog post is a response to the PMI Blogpost on Voices of Project Management

I strongly believe that Project Management should be an organizational competency.  Just like everyone in the company is competent at operating a computer, competent at using e-mail and competent at using MS Office, similarly every employee needs to be competent at Project Management.  Let me explain.

Definition of a Project:

A Project is done when you complete a set of tasks and the desired outcome happens.   David Allen of the GTD fame defines projects in the following way

Projects = Your outcomes that require more than one action step.

So, if we strictly go by this definition then most of what an average employee does can be categorized into projects.  Projects that are outcome based and that have more than one action step.

What does Project Management mean?

Project Management is not some specialized skill that should be practiced only by a select professionals who are certified to manage projects.  Project Management is a common sense approach to plan, schedule, track and complete a set of tasks.  If these set of tasks are repeatable day in and day out then you can convert these set of tasks into a check list and complete them.  If they are not repeatable set of tasks then you need more than a check list and that is where the project management competency plays a part.

Is most of the work repeatable?

To build the project management competency within an organization, the above question needs to be answered first.  If most of the work is repeatable like in a factory setting then your organization many not need the PM competency.  (If your knowledge workers are doing the same set of tasks day in and day out then please do them a favor and automate those tasks.)  If most of the work does not fall under this category and everyday there is a variance in the task performed even though the skill needed is same then the tasks that need to be performed for a successful outcome should be planned, estimated, scheduled, tracked and completed.

Benefits to the Organization:

Most of today’s work is changing and becoming more complex.  Which simply means what an employee did yesterday will not be the same tomorrow.  Which further means, it will not take the same amount of time and/or same tools and/or same resources.  Which means there is uncertainty.  When there is uncertainty the outcome is not guaranteed.  To improve the chances of everyday outcomes a core competency needs to be developed.  This core competency will provide a set of tools by which any employee can achieve the desired outcome in an ever changing, complex world.

Conclusion:

  1. Projects are outcomes that require more than one step
  2. Most outcomes are not guaranteed because of the changing workplace
  3. To make outcomes happen consistently, project management needs to become a core competency.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated to any Project Management Training Institute.  I am working as a Project Manager and these are my personal opinions.

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