Leadership. The project manager is expected to lead. The leadership he provides for the team and customer on each project engagement is something that is expected of every project manager. Not all are great at it, but they are expected to learn and grow along the way. But excellent, experienced project managers can offer leadership in other areas and to other individuals in the organization as well. Taking the lead in reviewing policies and processes and recommending changes that affect the PMO delivery can be one value-added effort. Taking the lead in working with the Chief Financial Officer and staff in understanding their financial reporting needs as it affects the company's projects can be another example of a value-added effort. Look for areas to take the lead in – areas where you may have certain strengths or experience. It's likely that the company can use whatever help you can provide.
Mentoring. Managing projects is one thing. And it is a big thing – requiring full-time commitment to excellence in your profession. But if you are an experienced project manager, taking a less experienced project manager under your wing for the purpose of mentoring them and enabling their career growth, then you are definitely adding value to your existence in the organization and helping the project management practice grow and achieve excellence.
Strict change control. Strict change control is never easy. Watching scope closely is one of the least enjoyable tasks a project manager takes on. However, if you're good at it, you'll recognize efforts requested by the customer that are outside of the scope of the agreed to requirements. The end result? This will go one of two ways:
- Either the work won't be performed – thus protecting the budget and planned profit margin
- It it will be handled by a change order which adds revenue to the project and helps maintain the profit margin - or possibly even add to it - for the project.
Dig for the real need and solution. How many times has the customer come to the table with less than full, complete requirements? Ok, probably every time. But even then, sometimes what they call “the project” or “the need” isn't necessarily the real need. It is sometimes just a symptom of the real problem. You can just go through the motions and implement what they are requesting. But if you sense there is more – investigate. If they are asking for a new way to accept customer payments, the real need may be an entirely new accounting system and process as other needs are going to necessitate the total replacement in 3-5 years. You may find that you can save this client $500,000 by doing it now, all at once. Look for these opportunities – they are definitely ways to add value to the project management position.
Summary / call for input
We can “do our jobs” and deliver to the best of our abilities on the projects we manage. Or we can look for ways to provide excellence through value-added efforts that will enhance our organizations PM delivery, help provide great revenue and profits to the organization, and likely be good for our own careers in the process.
How about our readers? What ways would you suggest that the project manager can add value to the organization and project management infrastructure? Please share and discuss.