I saw a somewhat depressing article in this month’s PM Network about the need for project managers to get business-savvy. Not that there’s anything wrong with what Gary Heerkens writes (the article itself is here). What saddens me is what this article implies about the mindset of project managers:
- Too many project managers don’t see “business understanding” as part of their job.
- This expectation isn’t explicit enough in PM job descriptions or how PM performance is managed.
- PMs seem to want the title, but not the responsibility.
IMO, a project manager who can’t participate in business discussions can’t meet the substantive requirements of whole swaths of the PMBOK Guide. How can a project manager participate in charter, scope, and change control discussions without knowing the business? Otherwise, aren’t they really project coordinators, assistants, etc.? As Gary notes (and understates):
Basing choices solely upon technical or functional considerations means all of the critical inputs required to make the best possible decision aren’t being considered. Project managers who do not understand the business aspects of their projects are destined to make subpar decisions from time to time.