The Future of Project Management Development

A quick sample of what people in project land are talking about TODAY:

A glance at a Linkedin project management discussion group. What are the discussions about?

What are the differences between managements and leadership?

Leverage Human Behavior to Lead without Authority

Tomorrow's Project Manager 
Moving project management to its next level requires the discipline evolve into three classes, that is coordinators, negotiators, and leaders.

What is a valuable tool to help determine if the Leadership in a company is failing?

What tips do you have to raise the morale and motivation of a capable but under performing Programme team?

What do you do for improving project communication in your teams? 8 Traits to Develop Project Management Political Savvy

A skim over my google alerts:

CMS Investment Study Group Unveils $55 Million Plan to Boost Graduation Rates ...
PR Newswire (press release)
The project will focus on enhanced teacher and school leadership quality

Center on Management of New Projects established in Azerbaijan
The program will be consisted of 8 modules – Project management, leadership to project, Management and Communication, Risks management, Planning and control

Daily Record investigation: A dream derailed
Daily Record (subscription)
The five-day series is the first comprehensive public examination of the project'sfinances, leadership, accountability and its record in achieving its The seven facets of leadership pt 7a: Group orientation
In the final part of the series, Spencer Holmes describes a new approach to the development ofproject managers to meet the current challenges of ...

Now, until I did this exercise the only time I’d herd Azerbaijan mentioned was by Eddie Izzard in one of his surreal skits, using the country, some may say unfairly, to depict “the back of beyond”, the end point of the communication food chain. And yet Azerbaijan gets it!

The future of project management development HAS to be LEADERSHIP

I literally can not keep up with the correspondence I am having on this subject. I have decided to run the London Marathon this year just to get away from the tweets for a few hours!

It is not clear at this point where project professionals can go to assess and develop their leadership talents within a project-specific environment. I agree that many of the lateral problem solving team-build sorts of exercises can have merit but can also over simplify what it takes to flourish in modern day projects.

I am sympathetic to the benefits of taking time off the treadmill and immersing oneself in a community project. This enables us to see how simplifying the infrastructure and tools of project management whilst upping the “meaningfulness factor” can create greater levels of engagement and productivity. However that’s not always practical. My wife and kids would certainly have a view if I were to announce I was nipping off to Borneo for a few months!

All I have endeavoured to do in this series is to highlight our ongoing mission to provide a coherent lexicon for project leadership. This is based on sound and iterative research, subject to continuous re-iteration. Probably always will be as projects change in their nature so radically so quickly.

I think of some Information Systems project managers we currently work with. In two short years they have gone from managing small, informal teams all under one roof to managing intense interfaces between some of the world’s largest and most commercially savvy systems providers. Yikes! This is the project equivalent of going straight to summit from base camp with no acclimatisation, oxygen, Sherpa, map. This trend does not look destined to stop any time soon.

After all, maps, Sherpas, oxygen all cost money! How many project managers will we find scattered under the peak of poor planning before we get it? I wonder.

Are the 7 facets the only conceivable way to describe project leadership? No, of course not, and I could argue semantics with the next man long into the night. What they do represent is leading brains in the profession coming together and distilling 94 original suggestions to 7 highly packed and condensed subjects. Take “communication” for example – one could write several volumes on that subject alone.

What we hope it does represent is a starting point and a focal point for the development of project-appropriate leadership skills. And, as with any skills development, as the language gets more familiar, we can get more fancy with it. So instead of just taking one facet at a time we can interweave them. So, instead of simply saying “we need to develop your communication skills” we could run a specific programme or coaching journey in “creative communication” maybe to overcome cultural issues between project client and offshore supplier or “pragmatic communication” to help get to the point!

And so, as we layer up the facets in different orders and settings, the tool goes from one that’s very easy to access and get started with, to one that opens up very, very specific skill sets. I can’t wait to take someone through the “motivated, group orientated, communicator (for introverts)” or “stable, creative, pragmatist (for those who need to play the politics game or negotiate with Mr nasty)”

And so, as this series draws to a close I’d love to hear from readers about their thoughts and views. We will be running a series of seminars on project leadership so please contact us if you would like to get involved. Our organisation values creative research and pragmatic deployment in equal measure and so will always be looking for the next stage of development for this portfolio.