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Thursday, 03 January 2008 04:30

Full Executive Support for the Project Manager: Is it Close?

Written by David Barrett
Are we any closer to full executive support for the role of the project manager?

The easy answer is yes. The tougher answer is… it depends. Typical.

I think that the position of the project manager within today’s organization has certainly improved. The project manager is an indispensable commodity within most systems departments out there today. No senior executive who is in touch with the IT division could ever suggest otherwise. Mess with this role and you will seriously jeopardize the success of your IT projects. I cannot imagine any executive today not getting this. So yes, this is big improvement from just three to five years ago.

Let’s put aside the non-IT sectors that have understood the importance of project management from the beginning of time: construction, engineering, aerospace to name a few.

For other areas of our business, the jury is still out! I believe the role of the project manager is crucial outside of IT, but this is where the value and applicability of the role of the PM is still being debated.

Time will tell but for the moment these PMOs and individual project managers are still working under a threat of death. Many out there feel some of these other projects do not need a full time professional PM and thus the level of executive support we are talking about is questionable.

But as with IT, this too will change. As project managers get involved in larger, more mission critical projects outside of IT, their value to the organization will grow. And remember, the new CEO, CIO and other C-levels typically GET project management. Look closely and you will notice that some of them even have a PMP beside their names. This will help!


David Barrett is publisher of Project Times, Conference Director, ProjectWorld and BusinessAnalystWorld, and Program Director of The Masters Certificate in Project Management, Schulich Executive Education Centre.

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