Due to the high economic value of Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems (IS), organizations have an insatiable appetite for them. Despite the significant amounts companies invest in projects, the Standish Group (2013) published that only 39 percent of all projects in organizations succeed (delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions).
A clear scope and charter, appropriate project resources, effective knowledge management, effective project communications and motivation, and skillful project management are all elements identified not only as best practices for project managers and Project Management Office (PMO) leaders, but also as crucial to project success. The reason why teams are successful or unsuccessful when participating in team activities has become a topic of significant interest in organizational settings. To plan, execute, and implement projects in a manner conducive to a successful outcome obviously requires substantial levels of knowledge. In recent years there has been an increasing awareness that the extent of expertise related to project success is not only limited to technical knowledge, but also requires knowledge about the human side of project management.
Failed projects are often the result of organizational and management issues, rather than the technology used. A majority (about 80 percent) of projects fail not because of a lack of technical knowledge, but because not enough emphasis was placed on the role of the “soft skills” in the project environment. Project managers are typically highly skilled in applying standardized project management frameworks, but they are not necessarily equipped to manage the subjective aspects of human interaction, which can adversely impact knowledge transfer and subsequently the project outcome. A PM certification tests the traditional process or methodology knowledge of the project manager but not really the soft skills of the person that is needed to manage the team to ensure a smooth project implementation. These soft skills and practical experience of the project manager must be used to ensure that the correct process for each specific project is followed. These processes are Project Management techniques, Team Composition and Structures, Effective Communication, Motivation within the team, Knowledge Management, Estimates and Budgeting, System Development Methodology, Risk Management, and Project Management Methodology. These topics will be discussed in more detail in future posts.
Dawie Steenkamp, PhD, PMP.