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Monday, July 18, 2011

Organizations and Project Failure

Studies have shown there are lots of out of control projects in organizations.  One of the contributing factors to this fact is the lack of qualified project management professionals.  Many organizations tag people and assign them to run projects even though they have little to no project management experience.  We know that training alone does not make a project manager. It takes years of experience to build project management competence.  (KNOWLEDGE + EXPERIENCE = WISDOM)

Project management is a discipline, and as such requires people with self-discipline, and project management knowledge and experience to be successful.  Too many times organizations look at a person’s technical and/or functional skills and make the assumption they can train them in the project management basics.  They also wrongly assume these individuals will make a quick, smooth transition and be effective, capable project managers. You aren’t effective at anything if you aren’t measured against your performance.  Most “accidental” project managers fail miserably because they don’t have the experience, or aren’t interested in doing the job.

Immature organizations tend to add project management to people’s job function rather than recognizing that project management is a profession.  Organizations won’t be successful entrusting large complex projects to accidental project managers.  Organizations can help themselves by realizing that project management competence is measurable, and project management results are what really matter. 

Inconsistent project results are many times the result of having the wrong people planning the wrong things in the wrong order, and using the wrong resources at the wrong following the wrong process looking for the wrong results.

Competency at anything requires training, knowledge, and experience. Providing project management training without the benefit of ongoing mentoring is just asking for poor project results and dissatisfied customers.

In closing, project management is a profession.  Training alone doesn’t build professionalism.  It takes lots of time and varied experiences, and even then some people never become professional project managers.


Sean said...

I totally agree with your post. Projects need to be lead by competent leaders and performed by responsible individuals. Constant monitoring, reviewing and advancements have to be done so that the project is not given up. Real teamwork.

Unknown said...

How would you measure the results if you have a rockstar pm with really hard tasks, and an accidental PM on projects that run on their own?

ProjectSteps said...

There is no such thing as a "rockstar pm" or "projects that run on their own".

Alison Wood said...

This is a topic that resonates with me, I've been the victim in these situations where the job title 'Project manager' has been flung at me without prior warning.

I work for Knowledge Train, a Prince2 training provider based in London. I'd be interested in offering a contribution to your blog from one of our experienced PM's along the lines of PM best practices and the benefits of applying a method. Would you be interested in receiving a sample by email? Many thanks, Alison.