Who is Minding the Gaps?

Why are the benefits of good project management undervalued? Project Management suffers from a marketing problem. We should call Project Managers what they are: Bridge Builders.

One of the skills I picked up in my study of History was the ability to spot gaps. History is essentially the answer to the question “How did we get here from there?” That question indicates a gap, and Historians conduct the research to fill in that gap, which they then share with the public.

Once you develop this particular skill set, you begin to use it everywhere. It seems you cannot help but identify gaps in every day situations. This is a very valuable skill, especially in the business world where increasing specialization has led to the proliferation of information silos. This group does this, that group does that, and seldom do the two groups meet.

This is why Project Management has become such an in-demand career path in the last few years. Project Managers are essentially bridge builders; they coordinate disparate departments and efforts into a cohesive whole by not only keeping people on track, but by reminding them of the bigger picture. Just like Historians, they have a number of tools in their toolbox to accomplish this, from Six Sigma to Agile and on and on down the line. But their job is to identify the gaps in a project and figure out how to address them.

And yet, knowing that good Project Management is necessary to prevent not only project failure but business failure as well, in my experience there are still plenty of organizations who either don’t recognize the value in Project Management or flat out ignore it. Take this recent post on Forbes enumerating seven reasons why Tech Projects fail, and five things to prevent it.  Each and everyone one of the seven gaps the writer identifies are addressed in Project Management Best Practices; but the failures continue.

Are These The Real Reasons Why Tech Projects Fail?

According to reports, 25 percent of technology projects fail outright; 20 to 25 percent don’t show any return on investment; and as much as 50 percent need massive reworking by the time they’re finished. But the question is why: Why do so many technology projects fail — and fail so […]

via Are These The Real Reasons Why Tech Projects Fail? — Forbes Real Time

I believe Project Management as a whole suffers from a bit of a marketing problem. Businesses see the title and think, “Oh, someone who manages projects. Well, we have managers for that.  We don’t need a Project Manager to do that job”. All of the value Project Management brings to the table is so easily dismissed, all because of terminology. The problem is that your existing managers operate within their own silos, and that’s how they manage the projects under their care as well. It is rare for any successful project to not have to cross from the IT Department into other departments for example, and once you run into that you run into real challenges from an organizational culture and hierarchy standpoint.

We should call Project Managers what they are: Bridge Builders. They are the people who identify the gaps that will derail your projects before they even begin. They are the people who will pave the way for the project to succeed by navigating the organizational layout and hierarchy. They are people who want to see a project succeed without wasting time, money and effort. They are the people who will ensure that your business will thrive in this VUCA business environment. They are people like me, who can save your business and help ensure your success for years to come.



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