Competency and Careers in Project Management
J. KENT CRAWFORD, PMP, PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
JEANNETTE CABANIS-BREWIN, PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
Research into the causes of project failures has identified a primary cause of troubled or unsuccessful projects: the lack of qualified project managers.1 At one time, this lack was primarily due to the fact that qualified project managers were, in fact, quite rare. Project management was “the accidental profession,” not one for which people chose and trained.
Today, with the proliferation of degree programs, training courses, and a growing professional body, this is less true. The problem facing projects now is an organizational one. In many organizations, employees have very little incentive to assume the position of project manager, largely because of a disconnect surrounding what the role entails. Organizations have historically assumed that technical capabilities of individuals could be translated into project management expertise. Because of this, professionals who have worked for years to earn the title of senior engineer or technical specialist have been unwilling to exchange their current jobs for the role of project manager. The role is added to their regular job description, instead of being viewed as a legitimate function to be valued by the organization, and which requires a special set of skills. Therefore, many organizations still haven’t connected the value of the project manager to the success of the organization.
A second, related reason is that poor role definition—for all the roles in a project, but especially for the project manager—