The New Project Manager22. März, 2010
I had an interesting discussion last week again about the changing role of Project Managers. Quite timely, PMI posted a relevant article in their current PM Passport (‘The Next Generation of Project Managers’).
So what are the distinguishing qualities of the New PM? I’d say:
- Collaborative/participative rather than autocratic leadership style
- Understanding and appreciation of the business, seeing the project in the larger picture
- Living the responsibility for project outcomes
- Being a specialist in management disciplines such as Project Management in general (in different flavors, as fits best with the current project), Change Management, Communications and the like, rather than a technical expert
- Using Web 2.0 tools, easily working across building / country borders
This trend is for one thing coming from within the PM community, accelerated by organizations such as PMI or OCG. For another thing, changing characteristics of the business environment and the projects themselves call for changed project leaders: Projects safely based in one ‘silo’ of an organization are getting somewhat rare. Most projects nowadays have a technical as well as an organizational component, touching different departments such as IT, HR, Finance, Sales,… Often, the need to integrate into the existing IT environments adds to the complexity. In such an environment, the ‘new’ PM style is more likely to succeed.
As with many things, also this medal has two sides: Not all organizations want / are ready or capable to deal with this new style yet, as it can seriously interfere with established structures, roles and the culture.
People I talked to seemed to share the impression that Germany is a bit behind in this trend. It is quite amazing how many job adverts for ‘senior’ PMs also list deep technical skills in one or the other area as requirement. Maybe this is due to Germany’s strong engineering culture, combined with and some typical German traits?
Would you second these thoughts and observations? Any comments?