LSA Global Insights Newsletter: "Accidental Project Managers" - Project Management Is Not Just for Project Managers Anymore


"Accidental Project Managers" - Project Management Is Not Just for Project Managers Anymore

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There was a time when employees did "their job," and projects were managed only by experienced project managers who had extensive training in all the aspects of successfully defining, planning, executing and controlling projects. 

But times are different now.
  • Respondents to a Blanchard survey stated that they spend as much as 50% of their time in a team setting. Yet 42% admitted to rarely, if ever, receiving any training to properly kick-off their projects.
  • Up to 66% of organizations polled by the Society for Human Resource Management use virtual project teams.
  • An Appleseed Partners poll found almost 30% of team leads are "accidental project managers" of which almost two-thirds have no formal project management training or certification.
  • The pace of business has accelerated exponentially and many teams are operating in a 24/7 global economy.

At LSA Global, we see our clients committing a greater proportion of their time and resources to key projects and project teams. And, as more and more business gets done through projects, the need for project leadership and project team skills continues to grow. In order to succeed, leaders need to add another competency arrow to their quiver of leadership abilities...they need to know how to effectively lead projects and project teams. 

With more internal and external work being accomplished by co-located and remote projects teams, the need for rock solid project leaders and team members who can effectively define, plan, execute and control projects of all shapes and sizes has grown exponentially. The new competency often comes as a surprise for many leaders who don't consider themselves 'professional project managers,' a role often equated with Information Technology, a formal PMO function or Engineering. But professionals in every department - marketing, accounting, purchasing, and human resources, for example - are being affected by this new need for project management capability.  

The shift is driven by three easily observed factors: 
  1. Organizational change is most often achieved by one or more projects. As projects become a bigger proportion of everyone's work, basic project management skills are becoming as essential as interpersonal communications, conflict management, team dynamics, and other foundational skills that apply to every professional.

  2. Millennials are entering leadership roles, while Boomers are retiring. Flatter, more agile organizations are turning over the reins for small and large leadership responsibilities to a new generation of leaders who will spend most of their careers in teams navigating change. The sooner they sharpen their project leadership skills, the better.   

  3. Innovation and V.U.C.A. (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) are pervasive challenges. Whether a company is driving disruption or reacting to it, innovation affects everyone. V.U.C.A. is a term used to describe the less predictable world most organizations face. Project management is a key capability for driving innovation and responding to 'a V.U.C.A. world.'
However, there is a challenge for those of us working with leaders to instill the basic tenets of successful change and project management. Since many managers, executives, and senior staff don't see themselves as project managers, they are leery of project management training, processes and practices that are bloated or designed for IT, construction, or engineering projects. And they rightfully reject training designed for passing the PMP exam. 

Read about Setting Non-Project Managers Up to Succeed

 About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned