If you take a second to think about your day-to-day professional tasks, I’m sure you can think of at least a handful that fall under the common definition of a project: planned work completed over a period of time to achieve a specific goal. Which makes you - you guessed it - a project manager.
In recent years, project management culture has spread throughout many organizations, going beyond PMOs and IT departments. According to a 2017 study by 451 Research, over 80% of professionals consider project management as central to their role, despite it not being outwardly referenced in their title or job description. This applies to a sample population of individuals in a wide range of professions, even those that are not directly linked to production (i.e Director of Product Development, Chief Legal Officer, or VP of Sales).
Does this mean that there is no need for a stand-alone Project Management Office within an organization? If everyone acts as a project manager within their own role, what need is there for project management specialists?
The answer is fairly simple: PMOs offer formal training and knowledge of project management tools and processes that allow your organization to be more efficient. In addition, professional project managers master state-of-the-art planning and execution techniques that have proven to be efficient over the years. Going back to our previous example, a Director of Product Development who is constantly juggling a full portfolio of new products does not have the time to pursue such training or run through elaborate step-by-step methodologies on a daily basis. They need their project management process to be simple and straightforward.
Indeed, watered-down project management processes do not provide the same results. Projects are 2.5x more successful when proven project management practices are applied.
Your project managers would also benefit from guidance in in the form of an executive sponsor. While a project manager works closely with key stakeholders and oversees task-by-task execution, an executive sponsor will help provide direction and legitimize the project by making sure it is aligned with the company’s overall strategy and garnering the required level of support within the organization. Sponsorship is indicative of the level of business priority of a project and thus the need to apply best practices.
In fact, 76% of projects with an executive sponsor meet their goals, as opposed to 46% with no sponsor. In the face of digital disruption and increasingly aggressive competitive landscapes, few businesses can afford for over half of their projects to fail.
Arm yourself against project failure by ensuring that the people who lead your company’s most critical work are well equipped to effectively plan and execute. While everyone can be a project manager, they need the right processes and tools in order to be successful.