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Over the last 5 decades, the role of IT Project Management has continuously evolved from being perceived as 'task coordinator' to the executor of ‘business strategy’. With rapidly changing business environments, organizations need to often review their strategies. The business world is becoming faster, flatter and more complex, but people and their leaders are still at the heart of it all.
The project team dynamics have totally changed. A substantial number of projects require experts from multiple locations. The availability of a global, virtualized and digital infrastructure has enabled knowledge workers across the globe to successfully compete for work with local players. Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme stated that “clients seek overall solutions ranging from ‘vision to operations’…. (HBR,2015).
In order to perform at the new role, IT project managers/leaders require additional skills. They need to understand business strategy, market volatility, business finance, industrial and customer relationships. They need to develop soft skills to manage conflicts and resistances to organization change, support decision-making process, negotiate and make teams perform at their best. IT Project Management Consulting firms need to focus that future project managers are equipped with the right skill set.
The following comparisons clarify the deliverables from the traditional PM role and the evolving role of Project Managers
As per traditional role focused on scope, well-defined deliverables and delivered new systems, services, and products Focused on managing project teams, sponsor and key business users, conducted ‘Project kick-off’ with key stakeholders, delivery teams and business users.
However, as per new role focuses on the ‘business value’ to be delivered, understands organization strategy and ensures that new introductions are in line with the organization’s strategy and are used to its optimum level. Focuses on complete organization and works with the project sponsor for sharing vision and organizations’ strategy to the teams
Scope & Value Delivery
In the traditional role the PM gathers requirements as given by the users, resists to changes to the frozen scope, and vehemently resists to major changes once a project is midway. Manages delivery of scope.
In the evolving/new role the PM aligns the requirements to the organization’s strategy, is open to the scope changes which adds the business value, however, negotiates on the impact on schedule and costs. Being cognizant of the volatility in the business is also open to mid-course corrections to align with the organization strategy. In addition to managing deliverables, also manages perceptions and value delivery
Cost & Value Delivery
Manages costs in the traditional role and delivers a return on investment (RoI) in the new role
Schedule & Value Delivery
PMs in their traditional role manages on-time delivery, whereas in the new role focuses on the value delivery and is open to adjusting the schedule to maximize the value
Org. Change Management
Traditionally PMs do not perform a notable role in managing organizational change. However, in the new role the PMs are expected to own Org. change management deliverables and manages resistance to change and acceptance of deliverables
PMs have been managing diverse teams and also manage conflicts within the project team, whereas in the new role the PMs are expected to manage teams which are more complex and skilled and also In addition to the conflicts in the team helps manage conflicts within the organization
PMs work more as a task-oriented leader and uses position power, but in the new role work more on people-oriented leadership style and use referent and expert powers to influence
In the traditional role, PMs conveys information, communicate on the scope, schedule, and cost communicates on work products.
In the new role, communicates based on communication need-analysis of stakeholders. considers likely response from the stakeholders, communicates on ‘value’ delivery, regularly negotiates with key stakeholders and communicates value propositions. The new PM is a good listener and Emotionally Intelligent Project closure & Measurements
Traditionally PMs sign off on completing project delivery and is measured for scope, schedule and cost management based on exit criterion.
In the new role, PMs delivers a functioning, transformed organization and are measured on business benefits’ realization and delivery on conditions of satisfaction. PMs are expected to stabilize operations
Author -Deepak ( Sachdeepak Arora ) is founder and CEO of Project Management CoE
Author of ‘Transform and Thrive: A step-by-step guide for successful execution of organizational transformation projects and programs’