A project management team that’s focused on how projects contribute to a company’s growth, innovation and the greater business strategy rather than simply on completing discrete tasks can give businesses can a major competitive advantage, says Patel. “Using agile concepts outside of the IT department to create business agility is critical for good project management,” he says.
“You want project managers to understand not just how to be responsive to customers and markets, but to do so even when your market changes, or your internal strategy changes; to do so if your company’s acquired, if your company’s acquiring another, getting a new CEO – any number of major changes. Project managers must be able to show they have the ability to turn on a dime. To manage the business’ priorities in the face of sweeping change,” Patel says.
It used to be enough that businesses were quick to react when markets changed, but nowadays, project managers must be proactive and anticipate every possible change and shift that could happen and how those could affect not just their projects, but their business as a whole, he says.
“One of the traits we’re evangelizing is being predictive – forecasting the need to be flexible and adaptive; planning staffing, costs, time constraints and the like as much as six months out and determining which projects will be the key to success then,” he says. “It’s not easy, for sure, but this is something good project managers must do.”