Jan 14, 2015

Project Managers ... "Talent" or "Capital"?

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Culture & Change Management, Human Capital, Project Management Events, Project Management Office (PMO), Project Management Research | 0 Comments

If you want to know where companies are headed with project management, stay tuned here.

So, it’s official … PM Solutions thought leadership continues to run about 10 years ahead of the times.

For example, we said the title Chief Project Officer would come into use in our 2001 book, The Strategic Project Office and by 2007 we were collecting business cards at every project management event with just that title. In fact, that was the year that on of the organizations tapped for PMI Project of the Year had a CPO in their lineup.

Then again, in 2006, we proposed a “dream team” of PMO roles in our book, Optimizing Human Capital … and those roles, from Portfolio Manager to Metrics Analyst, are now common in PMOs across the spectrum of industries.

Also in that book, we proposed that a wide range of HR-related tasks and responsibilities ought to be handled by the PMO for best project results. After all, who better to identify the competencies needed in project managers, craft job descriptions, hire, train and reward the people who do projects? And, sure enough, as the applications have rolled in for the PMO of the Year Award (created and administered by PM Solutions’ research division from 2006–2012, now a PMI Award), we’ve watched the best PMOs take on these roles and more. This trend has been verified in our biennial State of the PMO studies.

So it wasn’t that surprising when my CEO Kent Crawford came home from the 2014 PMO Symposium, which had the theme of Talent Management and said, “the big news was all the stuff we wrote about in the OHC book almost a decade ago.” Splitting the project management role by art and science, and creating a career path for the scheduler and planner on the technical side. (See Chapter 4.)  The special case of how to reward and motivate knowledge workers (see Chapter 7). Kent began picking out items from the book to share on Twitter: you can follow the campaign here.

We’re glad the focus has shifted to what Kent has termed “the care and feeding of project managers” because we’ve believed all along that there are two sources of replicable success when it comes to projects and programs: one is an organizational structure and culture that supports project management (the PMO). The other is what we are now, in a nod to the entertainment industry, calling “the Talent.” I’m on the fence about whether this is a better term than Human Capital, which draws attention to the fact that people are your primary engine of wealth creation. "Capital" after all is a word that comes from the Latin root for "head" -- not a bad term for knowledge workers. But I’d be curious to hear what project managers think.

I’m also glad to once again see our predictions become reality. If you want to know where companies are heading with project management, stay tuned here. We’ll keep you ahead of the game.


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