Project Management Thanksgiving

By Sheila Roberts

Today all Americans celebrate Thanksgiving which pays respect to the thanks due to the Native Americans who helped the settlers to survive the first year they were there by showing them how to grow their crops and find their meat. This blog is not a foodie theme but to reflect for a short time on the things in PPM which we, in the Project Management community,  should be thankful for. I now have three decades of experience to draw on and can see many developments to be grateful for in the world of PPM. Let me take you through a few.

Firstly it is the availability of tried and tested project and programme management methods Agile came out in 2000, PRINCE2 (as PROMPT) in 1975, APM was established (as Internet) in 1972 and PMI in 1969. We now have the choice of which method to use depending on the situation of the project. It is also acceptable to use a hybrid approach drawn from more than one method or framework. The great thing about having methods is that it avoids the experiences many of us had back in the early days (before I was aware of methods being available) whereby we were flying by the seat of our pants. I was always running to stay one step ahead which created a high level of anxiety about the process when the anxiety should be focussed on creating value to the organisation.

Governance of projects is now understood to be very important and that each person being clear about their roles and responsibilities is key to this. It is a significant step forward from the time when it was seen as normal that the Project Manager was appointed and that meant that no one else need concern themselves with the initiative. The involvement of key decision makers who understand their roles is an asset to any project.

Another thing to be grateful for is the people dimension. The importance of people who are not only technically knowledgeable but who are competent practitioners is now recognised as a key to successful delivery. The development of Project Managers who can work with the team and stakeholders is a leap forward. There are many approaches to help Project Managers to develop more of the skills required to manage relationships and these are now seen as accepted rather than rather ‘soft’ for projects in ‘tough’ environments.

The Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) designation is another aspect to be thankful for. This enables project management to be recognised as a profession with it’s own body of knowledge and professional practice to be assessed. The current ChPPs are amongst the most experienced and competent in the profession, although this will spread to include those who don’t yet have grey hair and at CUPE International we welcome the time when ChPP is on the recruitment agencies lists of requirements for any Project Manager who is going to manage a large complex project.

I could go on to develop a very long list of areas in which project management has advanced over the past few decades but this is enough for now. If you want to find out more about why we are excited by the developments in project management just be in touch through the contact us part of the CUPE International website.