Don't Make Individual Team Members Blow Their Own Horn. If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I am a firm believer in empowering the team to create and invent value for their organizations. We talk a lot about facilitating an environment where everyone on the team can contribute to something bigger than themselves, take ownership and dare I say it, act more strategically. Although I hadn't put it in those words before, I received an interesting comment on Gantthead which I would like to share here (click here to read his comment).
Dr. Paul D. Giammalovo (www.build-project-management-competency.com) asks, "...how do you consider project management to be 'strategic'?"
Dr. Giammalovo suggests that managing work isn't strategic (in fairness, I am not in construction management, I work with knowledge workers, which might be a bit different), which if we look at the last 50 to 100 years of practice he is right. Project management has not been a very strategic discipline. He suggests that, "...project management/project managers are not high enough up in the decision making process to be 'strategic' decision makers ... at best we are tactical, and although we clearly may be working on strategic projects within the organization, I can see no way to justify any claims that project managers are making strategic rather than tactical decisions, even though the projects we manage may be considered to be strategic in nature."
Although I respect Dr. Gimmalovo's opinion, I think this is a great example of what's wrong with the current project management paradigm. Although project managers in many organizations aren't part of the strategic decisions made by executive leadership, does that imply that they should not approach a project plan strategically? Does that imply that their approach to any project should not be strategic? Does this mean that project leaders and project teams should be drones that simply shut up and do the work assigned to them without question and without thought?
Steve Denning, in a recent article for Forbes suggests, "In today's marketplace, where continuous innovation is key to winning and retaining customers and the work is too complex to be accomplished by individuals, crushing the spirit and creativity of teams is a productivity disaster."
Unlike Dr. Giammalovo, I fell into the role of managing projects. I am not a big "P" process guy. I believe our goal as project leaders is to provide value to our organization, foster the most productive environment we can within the project teams we lead and successfully execute projects.
The PMI promotes the thought that project management deserves a seat in the C-suite. As long as we continue to act and respond to a call to think and be more strategic as contrary to our discipline, it will never happen. What's more, we won't deserve it. In my humble opinion, everyone on the project team should be aware of, and on-board with, the strategic vision of every project. That, my friends is the way to engage the workforce, improve efficiency and ultimately execute projects more successfully.
According to Vlatka Hlupic, in an article published in ComputerWeekly, he suggests that applying this type of management approach in a German IT consulting company "...resulted in an 1,700% increase in profit and a 23% increase in the number of employees in the first year, and a further 240% increase in profit and a 20% increase in the number of employees in the second year, despite an economy in a recession."
Do you want a seat in the C-suite? Those kinds of results will get you there (and yes, you will have to think more strategically to do it).