Project Management is one of the fastest growing, widely recognized trends of the last decade. It's recent popularity can be seen in many quarters. Over 50% annual growth in membership in the US Project Management Institute is just one sign of this popular movement. Similar growth can be seen in project management certification candidates, formal project management educational programs, project management web sites and project management articles. As a forty year consultant/practitioner of project management, the growth in opportunities for project management trainers and consultants has certainly been appreciated by this writer. But it has been accompanied by increasing frustration about the way that project management is being implemented in those organizations that have recently come to embrace this discipline.
Below are a few simple questions. Answer them truthfully. Then think about the answers.
Even in this day of flat organizations and multidiscipline teams, almost all of you will have replied that your organization does have a CEO, that engineers report to an Engineering Manager, and that there is a Chief Financial Officer (or similar title) heading up the finance function and watching out for the firm's financial health and objectives.
Is this bucking the trend? Or does it still make irrefutable sense to maintain hierarchical structures within our organizations? Without defined leaders in these important functions, who will define the department's mission? Who will set the standards? Where will the leadership and mentoring come from?
You won't find many organizations without structured functions for Information Systems, Human Resources, Marketing and Sales, Procurement, etc., (where applicable). Yet there is one vastly important function, in many organizations, that has been declared exempt from this rule. That is the project management function.