Project management – breeding ground for business leaders

Originally posted on the ProjExc Project Excellence Blog on 04-Jun-08

There was a fascinating article in The Times last week. It is well worth a read for a number of reasons, not least for some of the quotes. You can get to the full article here.
It is noteworthy that our views at ProjExc (also believed as central by colleagues at other PM consultancies) around Leadership being the key to successful delivery of projects, are generally supported in the article. I was also interested to see that project and programme management were being linked (or confused).

Some of the thought provoking quotes we enjoyed include:
Successful programme managers (senior project managers who handle large complex projects or portfolios of projects) need to direct a diverse team of professionals, confidently manage lawyers and budgets and posses a well-honed set of soft skills, including the ability to communicate with the media and government” and “There are plenty of places teaching project management, but when you go up to the level of hugely complex projects we are not doing enough,” Janet Smart, director of the BT Centre for Major Programme Management in Oxford.

Martin Barnes, president of the Association for Project Management, “The management of change, which is what project managers excel at, is the most difficult thing you can do, so if you have done this in the middle of your career you are very well equipped to go into top management afterwards.”

Philip Diab, chairman of the board of the Project Management Institute, says that good project managers need to have three distinct skill sets: the ability to bring together and manage a diverse team; soft skills such as emotional intelligence; and the vision to make change happen. “Project management is an excellent breeding ground for future leaders because you are acting like a mini CEO on a project.