That's been the running mantra for a while now, but it seems to be gaining even more traction as Harold Kerzner, PhD, explained in the first-ever closing session at a PMI global congress in North America.
"Time and cost used to drive all decisions," said Dr. Kerzner, senior executive director, project management at the International Institute for Learning Inc. "Now we're saying, 'Wait a minute, are we providing value?'"
Without that, the project will be axed.
"If management doesn't see how a project will deliver a value, that project will be canceled even if it's meeting time and budget constraints," he said.
Not all constraints have equal value, Dr. Kerzner said.
That's quite a mind shift for project managers--and it's going to take a whole new skill set.
Indeed, Dr. Kerzner boldly predicted earned value management will be "obsolete very shortly," upstaged by value measurement methodologies that consider intangibles such as goodwill or reputation.
And while a mastery of technical knowledge use to suffice, that's now considered "old school."
"Project managers must understand business," he told the crowd.
They will also need an understanding of politics, culture/religion, stakeholders and people. And Dr. Kerzner predicted a new wave of certifications in complex projects, virtual teams, cultural differences and morality and ethics.
Project managers who go in armed with those skills will find a receptive audience in the executive crowd.
"The biggest change in the last several years has been in senior management support of project management," he said. "Senior management no longer views project management as a career path. It is now viewed as a strategic competence necessary for survival of the company."
Do you agree with Dr. Kerzner? Are you seeing increased demand for business understanding--or should project managers stick to what they do best?