Last year, we published a white paper titled Helping Project Managers Get Their Groove Back: Re-engineering the Role of Your PMs. In it, we stated that the project manager is the most misused, misunderstood and undervalued of all the delivery roles. We also stated that the function was in a vicious cycle of devaluation for professional and consulting services organizations, especially embedded PSOs. While little has changed in a year, what we did not realize at the time was how impactful this is to the entire services organization.
Project managers are the boat captains of our delivery work. They don’t just oversee and manage the work, they are holders of the information most needed by our organizations (to forecast, to resource, to invoice…). Therefore, it is critical that every organization evaluate how they have defined the role, and more importantly, how they position the role with customers, the sales team and within the delivery team. That is the people part. There is a technology impact too. What are your project managers doing systematically to help steer the boat? Have you given them the right functionality, or just relying on them to maintain data, or worse, they are largely off line? There are significant implications to how you define the role of the project manager and how you expect your project managers to interact with your systems, namely your PSA system.
We recommend taking a fresh look at 1) how well you have defined the project manager role, 2) how is that role perceived across the organization and with your customers, and 3) how is your PSA and related systems designed to support this.