I was recently asked how a company can up-skill their project managers so that that they can take on more responsibility and deliver better projects. This is what I responded. The first step is to consider what your project managers are really good at and what they are not so good at. In other words, what are the symptoms you are experiencing and how do you know that you have a problem? Are your projects delivered late, are they over budget, is quality poor, or do they not add sufficient value to the organisation and end customer? The second step is to identify the root cause of these symptoms. Projects often run into difficulties because of unclear scope and objectives, lack of business focus, poor estimation, inadequate risk management, and lack of engagement from key players, including the project sponsor and senior decision-makers. Tellingly, the report The High Cost of Low Performance shows that despite it being a top driver of project success, fewer than two in three projects have actively engaged sponsors! Research also shows that over 80% of high performing organizations believe that the most important skill for project managers to manage complex projects is leadership. Mastering project management processes is necessary but insufficient when it comes to delivering successful projects.
What does it take to up-skill our project managers?