How to Make Project Management Your Company’s Secret Weapon
When I was growing up, the old folks used to say there are only two things in life that are guaranteed: death and taxes.
But wait. There’s a third.
It’s the bane of entrenched incumbents and the savior of emerging competitors. Make no mistake about it, change is going to happen…whether you like it or not.
If it’s going to happen anyway, why not run to embrace it like you’ve been expecting it all along? Better yet, why not make the change in trends your friend?
Figure out where change is going. If you’re agile enough, offer a vehicle that ushers in early adoption of this change.
In a recent blog post, LinkedIn analyzed changing trends in order to predict the future of project management. You can also read an in-depth article I wrote titled, “Can a Robot Do Your Job? Here’s How Project Managers Can Survive a Takeover.”
Both articles conclude that project managers will need to think more strategically and hone their people skills. I even ended my article by saying –
“The only way to predict the future is to create it. Machines are great at imitating, but it still takes a living, breathing human to come up with an original idea. If you want to stay at least two steps ahead of the machines, you’d better think bold and act EVEN bolder.”
The Future of Project Management IS the Future of Business
I know. This is a bold statement. But think about it.
The average client engagement starts off as a project or goes through some kind of trial period, a de facto project. If the project or trial period doesn’t go as well as expected, you stand a good chance of losing your client thus squandering your sales team’s win. At best, you end up having to reduce your account profitability in an effort to keep them.
Amid today’s rapid technological advances, your project teams will have to work harder and faster in order to successfully deploy solutions. Are you seeing how the success (or failure) of your project implementations acts as a predictor of your company’s future success?
In other words –
“As goes your projects, so goes your business.”
Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s talk about how you can turn your project team into a vehicle that drives sustainable, competitive advantage.
Project Management as a Competitive Advantage
The traditional way of deploying project managers (and their teams) has run its course. I gave more details about this trend in a previous article titled, “Automation is Coming for Your Project Management Job. Here's How to Hold on to It.”
In order for your organization to realize the full potential of Project Management as a Competitive Advantage, future project managers must be able to -
- Think Like a Consultant
- Deliver Like a Project Manager
- Grow Like a Business Developer
If you read my earlier article, you’ll recognize these are traits of a Project CEO. Such leaders are adept at wearing multiple hats and know when it’s best to put each one on.
For example, consultants identify and solve problems. They may even challenge the status quo from time to time.
Project managers deliver to customer expectations. They turn the consultant's vision into reality.
Business developers create long-term value for organizations. They turn finite projects into ongoing relationships.
Many organizations are quick to hire technical project managers, especially when it comes to IT and software. However, many of these same organizations hesitate to encourage and cultivate the business developer dimension of their project managers.
This is a mistake.
Ask yourself, who typically has the most face time with your customers? And, if trained properly, who is best positioned to see opportunities and problems arising in client accounts? The resounding answer is project managers.
With this in mind, you should systematically shift your project managers to entrepreneurial-minded Project CEOs who exhibit an optimal combination of Consultant, Project Manager, and Business Developer skills. Once this has been accomplished, you can strategically deploy them into client accounts.
This is the essence of Project Management as a Competitive Advantage. Adopt this cultural mindset...before your competition does.
Make project management your company’s secret weapon.
It doesn’t matter whether your organization manages government or corporate projects, you should be actively looking for ways to create a sustainable, competitive advantage. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to implement Project Management as a Competitive Advantage.
What got you where you are today won’t necessarily keep you there. Resting on your laurels will only invite competitors who are hungrier and thirstier to quickly snatch your lunch (aka customers) as they sprint right by you.
…don’t get left behind.
Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Oliver Yarbrough
Oliver Yarbrough, PMP®, is an author, speaker, trainer, and leading expert in project management and strategic growth strategies that maximize value.
He combines “hands-on”, real world experience with fresh insights. Oliver encourages his audiences to take action with a captivating, entertaining and down-to-earth style.
Mr. Yarbrough holds a Master’s degree from Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business (MBA program ranked #1 in Entrepreneurship for 26 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report). His professional career includes positions with Fortune 500 companies such as Lucent Technologies, Staples, and Sprint, along with his own successful business ventures.
He is a former Board Member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) – Government Technology Society, as well as the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) – Atlanta Chapter. Additionally, he has been featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "People on the Move."