Project Manager Transition: A New Skill Set for Managing Large and Complex Projects – Richard Wyatt

10:25 am -10:55 am

Friday, May 10, 2019

Prince Georges #1211

Paper Title:

Project Manager Transition: A new skill set for managing large and complex projects


Large projects fail because Project Managers are equipped with the wrong tool set. We teach new Project Managers to identify and manage progress against a defined sequence of tasks. The core techniques include the creation of a work breakdown structure which identifies a critical path. We expect the Project Manager to know the detailed status of each task, escalating any that are, or potentially will become delayed, impacting the critical path. The Project Manager escalates via a standard status report that is rolled up with many others. Project Managers are frequently managed by people who use the same limited tool set.

On the large scale the program environment become exponentially more complex. A different skill set is needed. Empathy and diplomacy is needed where resources are drawn from multiple organizations with potentially divergent priorities. Asymmetric focus enables attention to be placed on potential trouble spots rather than wasting focus on work-streams that are well managed. The manager of large projects must know where to apply focus.

In a lesson from Heisenberg, the effort to know the status in great detail pulls resources from maintaining momentum and can ultimately choke a project.
Where no plan survives contact with the enemy project managers must be able to build project plans that can readily adapt to changing circumstances.
These skills and several others I will discuss become critical to success delivering large projects. Project managers will not continue to be successful relying on managing task detail.

PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership


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