by Jim Vaughan

How To Sell Project Management Into Your Organization

Jun 08, 2010
IT Leadership

Making the leap to project management is a large one. Start small.

The PMIŽ Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (aka the PMBOKŽ) is 459 pages, consists of 9 knowledge areas and 5 process areas defining a total 42 individual processes.  To be certified as a Project Management Professional (PMPŽ) requires that you have a minimum of 35 hours of training and at least 4500 hours of project management experience. All of this is an indication of the complexity involved in the field of project management.

Trying to sell such a complex discipline in your organization can be difficult. Trying to provide objective data to demonstrate the value of project management to your organization can also be quite a challenge. This has been the difficulty for project managers in the IT world for a long time. Unless there is a senior level manager that is willing to go to bat for project management it is not likely to gain a lot of traction in the organization. Therefore, if you want to get project management implemented in your organization you will need to sell the concept to a senior manager.

Trying to sell project management to a senior manager who has the attention span of a gnat (my apologies to those few senior managers that have a longer attention span) will not be effective if you are wielding the PMBOK around. TMI! (That’s “Too Much Information”) Besides, senior managers are typically only interested in bottom line results, not necessarily the process for improving those results. And I will add that this should be their focus.

To be successful you must show some bottom line results which does not need to be a major project.  Start with one simple process and demonstrate the value. You may need to take measurements before and after in order to empirically demonstrate the improvement. Be sure that the improvement is tied to some monetary value. This can be as simple as improving the amount of time required to complete a task. Once this is demonstrated explain that this is just one project management process designed to improve the performance of the organization. Now you can spring the trap and say that there are 41 more processes that will have exponential improvement for the organization if they are all utilized.

The bottom line is that we must start small to sell the value of project management. We must demonstrate the value before we will get buy in from senior management. Good luck.

* PMI, PMP and PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute