Posted on

Are We Nearing a Tipping Point in Project Management?

Project management has been a profession that I have never felt more passionate or optimistic. Whether it’s right or wrong, I feel project management has not received the recognition it deserves as a business-critical skill.
Consider this: How many of you have ever completed a careers questionnaire? How many of your experiences have you had as project managers?
We are at the tipping point where project management will be recognized. Let me tell you why.
A project management report is something I like (some might say a little too much), but three recent ones really highlighted the importance of project planning:
World Economic Forum (WEF), Future of Jobs Report 20201
National Infrastructure Strategy2
Lessons from Major Projects & Programmes, House of Commons Public Account Committee3
Project managers are a role that is expected to be in high demand over the next five year according to the WEF1. The UK Government has committed to a large program of infrastructure investment with PS600 billion of public investment planned over the next five years.
It is clear that projects cannot be delivered without sufficient skilled people. This is why I believe we have reached the tipping point.
I refer to Lessons from Major Projects and Programmes (House of Commons Public Account Committee3) because it highlights key areas of project management that, when broken down, are all people-related.
Although this report is focused on major UK Government projects, I have found that they are applicable across all industries.
Robust investment decisions (business case) – “The benefits of proper scrutiny, development of programmes could be lost in a rush for delivery, and spending decisions could not be justified.”
Communication is essential for project delivery.
Check and challenge – “Programmes that have significant issues have passed through Gateways even though they were rated amber/red”
Planning – “The problems that major programmes face is not only for the public sector. Research shows that around 75% exceed their budget and schedule, even when they are included in the private sector.”
Project leadership – “Skills as well as leadership remain a persistent problem when delivering major projects.”
These skills are not exclusive to any industry. It is crucial to have the right skills to execute projects.
Failure is not an option. It is not possible to have people who can deliver projects. It is not possible to ignore the importance of project management.
I am often challenged about the need for project management or elements of project managing (such as quality, risk, etc.) and I pose the following question to the objector:
“Are You willing to take the risk of not doing it?”
This question is for every organization that doesn’t see project management as a crucial skill.
“Are your willing to accept the risk to your business if you don’t do project management effectively and efficiently?”
It doesn’t matter if it’s infrastructure or technology adoption, it’s all projects.
Ian Clarkson is a PPM Consultant and Author at QA Ltd. He is passionate about helping organisations improve their PPM delivery and encouraging the next generation PPM professionals. When he isn’t helping organisations transform, he enjoys reading the latest articles and researching on the topic. Perhaps he should just read more!