Project management –a new perspective from Raconteur

97Our recent look at project management as part of the management skills course -managing the business – was very well received. So when I saw that Raconteur had published a special report on the topic in The Sunday Times, I was interested to see what information they had that would be of value to our website visitors.

Much of what is said in this series will reflect the information in the pull-out.

Of course anyone who wants to make a career out of Project Management will need to become accredited with the relevant certifying professionals. This series of articles will further inform visitors about project management as a career and give an appreciation of the work of the project management profession. Comments from practitioners will give an up to date perspective on the topic.

Is this the career for you?

Project management (PM) experts say that even today the profession is not fully accepted as such, and consequently suffers a shortage of talented candidates with the appropriate skills. This is because the path is less recognised than other professions such as engineering and systems development. This is being addressed with the development of better industry qualifications and certifications.

Meanwhile PM is forced to develop even as technology does, to keep pace with developing regulatory and legislative requirements, and evolving competition.

In Raconteur’s Project Management report, Richard Goold, partner at Moorhouse, a business transformation consultancy, says “Project Management will never be fully evolved as the very nature of the market will ensure that new skills and an increasing versatility from project managers are essential “

This ensures that PM is a fluid concept that requires that even highly qualified and experienced PM Professionals must carry on learning and adapting. They need to be able to react quickly to a rapidly changing landscape.

Two new concepts

There are two relatively new concepts PM professionals must be familiar with today, according to Raconteur’s report. They are lean processes and agile businesses.

Lean processes can be describes as “doing more with less “.

Agile businesses describes “the ability to prepare for, anticipate and deal with changes to projects in a constructive way “.

The growth of the two concepts is a response to the growing awareness of the inbuilt risks of large scale projects.

Craig Stephens of Epicor said in the report “the most noticeable change has been the increased importance accorded to risk management within projects “

Paul Hilton, Technical Director of Mott MacDonald , a management engineering and development consultancy comments “ with more qualifications and a big move towards professionalising the industry….we should see progress towards project managers who are fully aware of best practice and with leadership qualities that can deliver change ….”

Many large scale projects are financed by public money, so todays PM professionals have to build flexibility into their project plans to enable them to deal with political, financial and technical problems. This has enabled them to achieve successful projects of huge scale, ambition and vision, such as staging Olympic events, and managing the World Health Organisation’s Global Malaria Programme.