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Project Management: No Longer Just for Project Managers

There was a time when one simply fell into project management. There were projects, someone needed to manage them, and boom: eventually someone did. But corporate structure did as corporate structure does and funneled the role into an official title, outfitting it with all the usual business-y tenets and a certified career path.

Today that professionalism still exists, but recent trends in the workplace–particularly the push for cultures of collaboration and transparency–are leading project management to a place more reminiscent of its origins. In other words, more and more organizations are finding that they require the bootstrap approach of those without the PM title to take the reins.

Agile Kills the Project Management Star

Within this shift’s heart of heart lives Agile Business, which calls for self-directed, self-organizing teams to work together rather than the old school command-and-control approach. In this model team members take on tasks that are best suited to their abilities, even when that means playing the role of temporary captain.

“Business units such as HR, sales, marketing, and legal services need their employees trained in project management as well,” noted ESI in this year’s Top 10 PM trends report (check it out here). “It might not be a classic view…but each corporate discipline manages projects, even if they do not view their work through that lens. The point is, there are not enough project managers to go around and these groups have projects that need to get done.”

And so whether it’s out of GTD necessity or simply a desire to join the Agile club, this all-in strategy will ideally result in the empowerment of every player, spurring innovative thought and productivity where it might not have otherwise had the opportunity to grow.

We’re in this Together

None of this is to say that Agile is anti-project manager, or that PMs should steer clear of Agile adoption. Instead, the aim is to provide relief by parsing out responsibilities and, in effect, the heat should a project fail.

At the end of the day businesses still require leaders, and in the case of Agile Project Management that simply means someone to keep tabs on all activity as well as provide whatever resources are at his or her disposal. Danh W. of ZilicusPM reflected this shift and the need for the right supporting tools in a recent blog post:

“Gone are the days, when I used to create a project schedule separately and…share it offline with team members. Today it is different. It is about working together; keeping everyone informed, (e.g. collaboration) and keeping project data organized.”

If you’re taking part in a little bit of democratic action at your own workplace, tell us in the comments below what is and isn’t working.

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