No More Project Managers?

This piece is from Mike Clayton’s weekly newsletter, who you might recognize from You can sign up for Mike’s weekly newsletter here.

Last week I wrote about the changes to the PMI’s Project Management Professional examination, coming in July this year.

For me, the most interesting change is not the most significant. The most significant change is the equal footing that Agile and hybrid project management will have, alongside the traditional, predictive approach. That’s a huge change. What use will engineering and construction project managers have for those methods?

But the change in the domains is also important and more interesting to me. Currently, the exam follows five domains mapped to the current PMBOK Guide’s five processes.
From 1 July, it will follow closely the PMI’s Talent Triangle:

  • People (42%)
  • Process (50%)
  • Business Environment (8%)

The percentages tell a story. Ignoring ‘Business Environment’ for a moment (as PMI seems almost to be doing), the message is clear. People skills are (almost) as important, in this exam, as technical, process skills. Put this another way… I’d interpret this as saying:

‘Project Leadership skills are as important as Project Management Skills’

In 2012 I was approached by Pearson Education, they are the global publisher behind the many textbooks and trade paperbacks. A related division now runs all PMI’s exam centers. They have a hugely popular business book series called the ‘Brilliant’ series and they asked me to write a follow-up to one of their best-sellers, ‘Brilliant Project Management’.

I wrote ‘Brilliant Project Leader’. It puts leadership skills into a familiar Project Management framework. The Best of us Have Been Leaders for Years. Decades, even. Any project manager who is not leading is not doing their whole job, in my view.

That’s always been the case. But what’s new… and welcome… is that PMI seems to be recognizing that fact. I hope the new focus on soft skills and leadership will last.

Who knows? Maybe the next big rebrand of the PMI will see it renamed the PLI: the ‘Project Leadership Institute’.

Related reading: 34 stats that foreshadow the future of project management.

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