future of the PM Hero
don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note.
Stakeholder, Relationships, Communication, Soft Skills.
The future of the PM Hero [P105]
role of project managers within organisations is changing. In the 1960s
and 70s most project managers were ‘accidental
PMs’: their careers and qualifications were always in another
discipline and the world was only starting to embrace the concept of
From the 1980s through to the start of the 21st Century project
management became better defined, understood and codified. The
certification of project managers has became increasingly common and
the ideal of delivering projects on time and on budget has been
recognised. This era has seen the accidental PM change to the PM
‘hero’. A highly skilled practitioner who could
almost singlehandedly create project success measured by the iron
triangle of time, cost and scope.
In the second decade of the 21st century this will no longer be
enough. Good project management will probably be business as
usual. The PM will display ‘5th Level Leadership’,
attuned to the needs of the team as well as the power structures of the
organisation. And, the organisation’s governance structures
will incorporate effective Portfolio, Program and Project management
supported by PMOs.
In this environment, project success will increasingly be measured in
terms of the value realized by the organisation and by stakeholder
satisfaction. Rather then the project being an end in itself, it will
be seen as part of the organization’s strategic mission and
the key element of success is how well the project’s outputs
help the organisation achieve its desired outcomes.
This paper will briefly outline the evolving role of the PM over the
last 50 years and focus on the emerging skills needed by successful PMs
in the new decade as their role changes from a hero to business leader.
See also: The
Accidental Project Manager – The Getting of Wisdom