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The Biggest Challenge Facing Project Managers Today

Leaders across the business spectrum are increasingly realizing the value of projects to grow companies. Therefore, project management skills are becoming more broadly relevant than ever. But as Elizabeth Harrin explains, it also means that people’s definition of project management is varying wildly. Radical variations in pay and employer expectations are to ensue from this confusion of roles.

Project Management Soup

To help prospective professionals better define the role of project management, several industry bodies exist – most notable in the US is the Project Management Institute (PMI). In the UK there are AXELOS, PRINCE2, and MSP frameworks, and the Association for Project Management (APM) in addition to a local PMI chapter. But the existence of many competing bodies can hinder the development of the profession, by muddying definitions and creating unnecessary redundancies:

For employers, it’s a mess. Do you want a PRINCE2 Practitioner or a PMP, or someone who has both? What does APMP mean and [is it]better or equivalent to a Master’s degree in Project Management? If I want to recruit a PMO Manager, what should I be looking for? There is no national standard to help employers make the right decisions for their companies.

Harrin goes on to site similar complications for individual employees. Is it enough to get the PMP credential, and will your employer even pay for it? A PRINCE2 certification may not give you the scheduling skills of the PMP or reflect work experience but (at least in the UK) is the standard. The list goes on. She is impatient to see project management become a more cohesive and comprehensive industry body, citing the varying standards and differing knowledge platforms as a source of fragmentation that slows progress and advancement of the industry. To unlock the true value of project management, there needs to be more coordination between its institutional bodies.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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