Project Management Competence: Building Key Skills for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations

By J. Davidson Frame | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
Developing Business-Related
Competence

Today's project professionals are expected to operate like good business men and women. Historically, project professionals were viewed as mere implementers. Project solutions would be developed with little or no input from the project team, then the team would be required to implement them. Team members generally had no cost accountability and certainly no profit-and-loss responsibilities. No one expected them to serve as marketers or to possess good customer relations skills. No one expected them to understand basic financial concepts such as present value, internal rate of return, and payback period. Seldom were they empowered to make independent decisions that had measurable business implications.

All that has changed. Today's competitive environment requires project professionals to operate like independent business men and women. They are expected to watch the bottom line and to be familiar with basic financial concepts. They are being told by their management that their job is to offer solutions to their customers. Consequendy, they should know their customers' business and be able to talk their customers' language. On larger projects, project managers look very much like the presidents of small businesses, with responsibilities in the areas of finance, marketing, operations, and human resource management.

The emphasis on project professionals as business managers is reflected in the content of today's graduate degrees in project management. For example, at the University of Management and Technology, our newly established master's degree in project

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