Why everyone is a project manager now
May 10, 2023 |
6 min read
Organizations worldwide often classify projects according to their existing capabilities and risk appetite.
In other words, any type of engagement or task can become a project according to the company’s understanding of its own needs and limitations; for example, whether its workforce has got enough spare capacity and/or project maturity and how much oversight is required to guarantee the job gets done.
Consequently, it is not rare to see in-house professionals becoming part-time or even full- time project managers alongside their usual role, even if the definition of what they are actually doing doesn’t quite fit the standard definition of a project, which is:
“A project is a temporary venture that exists to produce a defined outcome. Each project will have agreed and unique objectives as well as its own project plan, budget, timescale, deliverables and tasks. A project may also involve people from different teams within an organization who are brought together to accomplish a specific goal.”
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard about colleagues chosen to manage a project in addition to their usual role. Inevitably, they often end up blaming the project’s current state on the fact they are not trained or qualified project managers and still must do their day jobs. Their argument that the project – under those circumstances – can’t possibly be in a “great shape” is a fair one.
Indeed, I agree that organizations cannot expect a non-project manager to deliver to the same quality standard as a certified and experienced professional. However, the skillset required to manage a project is more common than you might think – and it is not rare to see a project manager assigned multiple projects at the same time.
Project management skills and a general understanding of them become a valuable asset, not only for organizations that want to source in-house solutions to move initiatives forward but for individuals that might need to lead or be part of them. We can also observe that these capabilities are in demand for our daily work routine also. A few examples are:
- Planning your yearly objectives and making sure you are on track to meet them at the end of the performance year.
- Managing the interdependence between your tasks and your colleagues’ tasks, including effective communication, stakeholder management and dealing with potential delays and mitigating risks.
- Managers ensuring they keep their team’s expenditures within budget and invest the capital wisely.
- Keeping record of important data and effectively reporting results.
Essentially, you are very likely to benefit from core, project management activities in your day job, whether as part of a project team now or getting involved in a project team in the future.
The best starting point to prepare yourself is having a general understanding of methods such as PRINCE2 and Agile and I would strongly recommend taking the foundation certificates to provide you with a solid base to both understand and deal with project elements.