Project management applies to everyone, in every function.
Project management was once a specialized skill, one that particular individuals went out of their way to get trained and/or certified in. Around this time last year, we talked about how organizational leaders were acquiring PM competencies in increasing numbers. But what about everyone else? In this era of cross-functional collaboration and high business agility, is PM a skill every professional must now have?
To investigate this question, I tapped my colleague, friend, and PM expert, Moira Alexander. Moira is founder and president of Lead-Her-Ship Group as well as a frequent contributor to publications including CIO, TechRepublic, and Tech Pro Research.
Moira, is the project management function really becoming a must-have for everyone?
Alexander: Project management is definitely a must-have skill for anyone in business, and in fact anyone who needs to govern personal and professional lives in today’s world. To be productive and effective, everyone, at every level, will at some point in their career need to manage time, cost, quality, communications, schedules, risks, and the scope of their work. It's just a matter of how effective we become at this. Having even a bit of PM training can fortify knowledge and skill in these areas.
How does PM training facilitate better cross-functional collaboration?
Alexander: Project management training certainly prepares project managers to think about the 10 PM knowledge areas and how each impacts project success rates, but it also imprints on project teams and business units. Every time a project manager engages a project team, more people are exposed to elements of formal PM training. Over time, PM training can also improve cross-functional team collaboration and increase levels of accountability and goal attainment.
Will every professional actually have to manage projects involving lots of moving parts, processes, and people? How so?
Alexander: It depends on their role and responsibilities, and I’d say not all professionals will necessarily manage projects with multiple moving parts. However, it is becoming more likely than not, and it’s certainly helpful to draw on PM training should an opportunity arise that requires it. As companies strive to do more with less in a global business environment with increasing complexities, the pressure on employees and consultants to balance time, costs, and quality is also increasing – making it necessary to have some PM knowledge and skills.
How does PM training promote the agility that's essential in today's business environment?
Alexander: If used to enable business strategy, PM training can increase the chances of goal attainment and improve a company’s agility, thereby creating a more sustainable competitive advantage. PM training also solidifies the links between business initiatives and company objectives. Once these links are understood and projects are selected and executed accordingly according to strategic objectives, a company’s agility and success rates also increase.
If you can't get "official" PM training, what resources should you use to acquire the PM skill?
Alexander: If formal PM education and certification isn’t an option, effective resources that offer PM training, workshops, videos, tutorials, podcasts and more include EdX , Alison, Corsera, Projectmanager.com, and Projectmanagement.com.