About The Author
Jonathan Atkinson 5 articles
Residence: GB Manchester, Greater Manchester
Managing Director at True North Change
APM P30, MSP, Prince 2, Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary


A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the name changed over the years; BOK/ Project Management Body of Knowledge/ PMBOK Guide ). The PMBOK Guide is a foundation upon which organizations can build methodologies, policies, procedures, rules, tools and techniques, and life cycle phases needed to practice project management.

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The PM is dead, long live the BA/PM

Project Managers have about as good a reputation as Recruitment Consultants. This is because, to most people, the value they bring is perceived as minimal. So what that you wrote a PID, asked a bunch of people about some risks and put some tasks in a confusing looking GANTT chart. Yawn.

To the recruitment consultants reading this, we know that all you do is search a database to match a vacancy to a candidate CV and usually get it wrong, the evidence of this is in all the Business Analyst roles based in Birmingham I receive in my inbox. Fundamentally your job could be done better by locking 100 chimpanzees in a room and giving them all a LinkedIn account.

So in order to avoid project managers being similarly replaced what does the PM need to do to survive becoming some kind of bizarre scene from Planet of the APMs ? The answer is diversification. The good news is that the path to diversification is already well trodden. The PM is dead, long live the BA/PM.

If it is true that the general perception is that most PMs are short on adding value (which it is) then it's time to increase their product offering and roll-out the buy one get one free campaign. Who needs to hire a PM plus a BA when you can get an all-in-one BA/PM ? Here's the deal;

  • Do you love plans and stuff ? BA/PM can do that, easy. I will set up a workshop, invite stakeholders, write stuff down.
  • Need risks ? Well, I can generate you more risks than a Donald Trump visit to the World Trade International Bridge. I pretty much follow the same process for giving you the plan you needed above.
  • You want a PID ? Hey well, here's a thing, see the approach taken above.
  • Oh, you also want me to do some actual work and you want me to chase people down on their tasks on the plan? AND you want me to hold some meetings so that we can safely "steer" the project. I'm on it, I will add some reminders in my calendar, sorted.
  • Pure PM can do all of these with consummate ease but by lunchtime pretty much it's time to kick back, relax and look busy

But what about the important stuff? Do you need that too or not? Whilst PM chills the BA/PM can:

  • Write you a business case by working collaboratively with stakeholders, mapping current state process and executing time and motion studies highlighting waste and inefficiencies.
  • Undertake observational analysis on the above to remove anecdotal opinion on the veracity of the potential opportunity
  • Interpret your Target Operating Model and facilitate the design of future proof, streamlined, adequately controlled new processes
  • Articulate the gap between current and future state and help you traverse that arranging UAT sessions and holding colleagues hands with a variety of carefully crafted adoption techniques
  • Maybe you'd like handover documentation too so that the Operations can safely transition to the new way of working knowing how to support the changes in tech process or people

The buy one get one free case is pretty compelling isn't it. The usual arguments about this model only working on small scale change are legitimate, sure. But in this era of multi-tasking, agile working, self-managing teams and much improved collaboration software one thing is certain; The PM is dead, long live the BA/PM.

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Jonathan Atkinson