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Effective Project Management is the key to delivering projects on time and within budget says Dan Matthews in the report. Research shows that high performing organisations create a culture of project management.
The PM industry suffers from two problems, the report says . First, a shortage of people studying technical subjects such as science, technology, engineering and maths.
Then there is the problem that the people who do study these subjects and would therefore be suitable for a career in PM, often do not naturally have the interpersonal skills required to be a great leader.
They are better suited to problem solving than managing large groups of people. They make excellent career progress based on their attention to detail but as they move on to larger more complex projects, other skills are required.
But successful project management requires both technical skills and knowledge, and interpersonal and management skills.
All of this points to a need for acquisition of skills and an education that allows people with a technical leaning and background to develop a skillset that enables them to inspire, lead and manage teams effectively. They must learn to prioritise, direct and delegate, encourage and reward their team. And there is also a need for a recognised path to certification and recognition of PM professionals.
How many people are trained in Project management?
In the UK, according to Project Management Solutions 2014, 61% of smaller firms have a project management office. This figure rises to 88% in medium sized companies, and 90% in large companies. The percentage offering PM training are 62% of small firms, 79% of medium sized companies, and 84% in large companies.
What do the professionals say?
Craig Stephens of Epicor says in the report “A project leader must inspire, motivate, negotiate and communicate. There behaviours are typically prominent in less technical people and less technical professions.“
Claire Arnold of Maxxim Consulting comments in the report that project management is simply getting people to work together to deliver a predefined outcome, so leadership is central to the role. She says that a great project leader must be able to develop a shared purpose for the team, and know when to signpost what has been achieved and what remains to be done. Leaders must be prepared to be flexible if things change, and should make work enjoyable , and communicate on multiple stages, at all levels.
Julie Wood , head of global project management at Arup , says PMs must be brilliant listeners “many people hear what clients say but never truly listen. You learn so much from your client by listening to their thoughts and priorities, so developing your skillset in this area is time well spent. Few people are natural listeners, so many can benefit from training in this area.“
Richard Gould of Moorhouse says the ability to anticipate, identify and react positively are increasingly sought after qualities. He adds “we are seeing a greater dependency on agility, and the need to respond quickly to competition, customers and market dynamics“