Projects play a critical role in the progress of a company. Their success can facilitate entry into new markets, implement cutting edge technologies, or activate long awaited operational assets. Conversely, their failure can stifle progress, aggravate timelines, disrupt strategies, or herald a firm’s disappearance altogether.
A company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is faced with a multitude of challenges when considering the commercial and economic viability of the projects the company is undertaking. As not only the figurehead of corporate finance, but also the penultimate individual often borne with the burden of reporting success (or failure) of projects, it can be a stressful existence.
McKinsey has examined the approaches of multiple leading companies, in sectors from energy to software development, to see how they have addressed similar challenges in the delivery of complex projects. Studying the most successful elements of their models allowed identification of the six design principles that could act as building blocks for better project delivery:
1. An ecosystem of partners that collaborate across multiple projects to maximize end-to-end value.
2. Industrialization and innovation, with the adoption of standard processes for repeated tasks, while challenging traditional ways of working to drive productivity.
3. Agility, flexibility, and resilience, combined with a stable backbone of disciplined processes, progress monitoring, and management.
4. Sustained capability building with a redesigned “people supply chain” that ensures companies acquire, develop, and retain the labor and talent they need.
5. A data-driven operating model including a robust digital architecture, shared by all stakeholders in the ecosystem.
6. Future-proofing of projects, with metrics and incentives that consider future opportunities and risks, and which promote innovation for long-term commercial and environmental sustainability.
As a result of our experience of delivering complex projects globally across a wide range of industries in the last thirty years, we believe the optimum project management transformation occurs at the intersection of people transformation, technology transformation, process transformation, and big data transformation. DEMS specializes in tracking the latest megatrends in people transformation, technology transformation, process transformation, and big data transformation to develop best practices, lessons learned, and agility in the project management industry.
While technical skills are core to project and program management, PMI research tells us they’re not enough in today’s increasingly complex and competitive global marketplace. Companies are seeking added skills in leadership and business intelligence — competencies that can support longer-range strategic objectives that contribute to the bottom line.
The ideal skill set — the PMI Talent Triangle® — is a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise — and now, digital skills. One of the articles published by PMI -PMI's 2021 Talent Gap reports "a forecast of employment trends for the next decade, predicts that the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030. With declining fertility rates and an increasing percentage of workers aging out of the workforce, organizations will need to find new ways to alleviate worker shortages and close the talent gap".
Work has changed. So must the way the work thinks about projects. We are in the era of The Project Economy. Change is as relentless at it pervasive - from the impact of technologies like artificial intelligence to the clamor for greater social accountability to customers' ever - evolving expectations.
Organizations that stick with status quo risk not justing treading water, but sinking. Now an essential business asset, change happens through projects. Organizations are under-going a fundamental paradigm shift in which projects are no longer adjacent to operations but instead primary to how work gets done and problems get solved. In today's C-suite and tomorrow's - it is the portfolio that disrupts, innovates, that expands and thrives. In many ways, the organization is its projects led by a variety of titles, executed through a variety of titles, executed through a variety of approches, and focused unwaveringly on delivery financial and societal value. This is what we call The Project Economy.
Most organizations today realize they are managing their business by projects. Project management is no longer restricted to a few functional domains but is now utilized throughout the organization. Today, project management is viewed as a strategic competency needed for corporate growth rather than a career path. Project management is becoming the vehicle needed to capture, evaluate, and implement the best practices needed for continuous improvements in the firm’s performance.
With so much change, executives are increasingly turning to project leaders to help them turn ideas into reality. And that often requires tried-and-true skills with emerging ones. So, yes, project professionals must be equipped with new agile project leadership soft and hard skills to survive and thrive in The Project Economy.