…Well this will be quick.
In the old days, the 50s and 60s up to the 90s, a good project manager was someone who could manage the technical parameters. This was (and still is) symbolised by the act of balancing…
Not going over budget, delivering on time and in compliance with the specs – specifications (sometimes this last dimension is referred to as scope).
This is not as easy as it sounds. Because if you focus on one of the angles too much, the others tend to suffer. That’s why it’s sometimes called the iron or diabolical triangle!
For example if you decide not to overrun the budget by even 1 cent. What are the risks for time and quality? Will quality tend to go up or down? And time?
Likewise if quality is totally critical to your project, what risks are then on cost and time? Up or down?
Finally in time focused projects, where deadlines absolutely have to be met, what happens to time and cost?
Can you think of sectors or industries where projects tend to be
a) cost obsessed?
b) quality obsessed?
c) deadline obsessed?
OK, we’ll check this on Monday.
Now let’s get back to the question of the good post 90s project manager. Today’s projects are exposed to wind, rain, storms. We have to look at them as part of a system. Everything seems to be interacting with everything else. Mastering cost, planning and scope or quality management is not enough. Managers have to be « aware » and responsive to
all sorts of external factors like political conditions, exchange rates, norms and standards, legal requirements, suppliers, competitors, consumers, users, evolving technologies, etc.
factors internal to the organisation doing the project. The company culture, history, hierarchy, other projects, structure, know how…
and finally all sorts of interpersonal factors come into play where because the project manager has to manage motivations, anxieties, resistances, reluctance, conflicts, ambitions, and so on.
It all interacts
The good project manager, the excellent project manager, the sublime project manager, has to be on all fronts…a bit like a start up entrepreneur.
What competences does a project manager then need?
Well, it depends of course on the complexity of the project. You will see that with GAPPS and the CIFTER (don’t worry about these acronyms for the time being). But the IPMA’s competence baseline outlines the various skills that have to be covered. 47 in the French version. 46 in the English language one.
If you look at the IPMA’s periodic table here
So, what do you think are your 3 strong points and 3 weak points in terms of this project management competence baseline. I’m certainly very aware of mine. Both strong and weak!! Will tell you on Monday.
I think that’s about it on this topic. Now we’ll look at various roles and actors in a project.