The PM Evolution

Don't Just Stand There
Don’t Just Stand There

The discipline of Project Management is evolving. That evolution is being driven by organizations wanting to double down on the tangible successes they’ve realized from investing in project management. Interestingly, organizations are expanding their expectations for project management in a variety of areas.

The most common expansion of expectations are related to getting project management practices involved earlier in the project life cycle and at higher levels of aggregation. Portfolio Management most commonly involves project managers with the prioritization and selection of projects. This is a clear expansion of responsibility from the time when project managers were only involved after projects were given the green light.

Similarly, Program Management and the establishment of Project Management Offices (PMOs) expand the expectations of Project Management with responsibilities such as coordination between related projects and enterprise resource planning. Another expanding role of the PMO is that of communication and reporting to senior leadership. This communication is not just for project status and issue management, but more frequently for enterprise risk management.

Possibly the most interesting expansion of expectations for Project Management is when organizations ask Project Management to be responsible for related disciplines such as organizational change management and strategic planning. These areas, while critical to the success of strategic projects, are more complex than just another project management skill. Despite this complexity, organizations are looking to project managers to lead, if not perform, these aspects of projects.

In short, project managers are emerging as business leaders responsible for planning and executing any type of critical business initiative.

These evolving expectations are appropriate and expected. If Project Management is the discipline responsible for the overall predictability and success of projects, it is a natural progression to move from simply managing schedules, issues and risks to:

  • Managing the prioritization of projects for the organization
  • Providing a comprehensive approach across all projects/programs for the organization
  • Responsibility for all outcomes including process changes, cultural shifts, revenue impacts, etc.

This broad set of expectations for the evolving discipline poses quite a challenge for project managers. While project managers have long blended “technical” project management expertise with “soft” skills and subject-matter expertise, the evolving demands on project managers are beginning to rival those of experienced corporate leadership. was established as a community to help project managers, business leaders and those in related disciplines with this evolution. Join the discussion, join the evolution!



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