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The Evolution of a Project Management Core Competency

This post originally appeared in Edition 8 of the Annex newsletter. Written by our CEO, Stacey Cerniuk, it’s as relevant today as it ever was before. Changes have been made to reflect the continuation of volunteer experience since the original publication.

I love project management. It’s in my blood. If your spouse has ever yelled at you, “Stop being a project manager while we are on vacation!” then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s no wonder project management is an Annex core competency.

After years of working for multinational consulting organizations, I became an independent consultant in 1997 specializing in project management, business analysis and management consulting.  Annex was incorporated shortly afterward in 1998.

Back in those days, the Annex Alliance, our consortium of independent IT and business consultants, consisted of only a dozen people with just two project managers.  Although bridges and buildings have been created for thousands of years, the discipline of project management outside of the engineering and construction industry was just beginning to gain momentum.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has made huge strides in raising the profile of project management as a profession with its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.  I am proud to have been a PMP since year 2000.

When I became certified, popularity of the PMP designation was just starting to spread.  Only a handful of customer organizations back in 2000 asked for PMP certification when advertising for PMs, and even then, it was a “nice to have”.  Now the PMP certification is a mandatory requirement on almost every PM job description.

Project management is more important now than ever.  These days, customers demand more and more sophisticated products.  Just look under the hood of a 1957 Chevy in your Dad’s garage and compare it to any new vehicle today.  Customers also want higher quality products and services and shorter time-to-market cycles for new products.

Project managers are needed to ensure that new products get released, that quality is high, that time compressed deadlines are met, that resources pulled by functional and project responsibilities are committed, and that precious budget dollars are used wisely.  Project management, which was once a luxury, is now a necessity for business success.

Despite the maturation of the project management industry, the definition of what a PM is and does can still vary widely from company to company.  At Annex, we classify our project management consultants into the following categories:

The type of work our project managers provide to our customers can be grouped into the following services:

Project management can be a thankless task.  If the project succeeds, many team members share the credit.  If the project fails, blame falls first on the PM.  It takes a special (crazy?) kind of person to want the ultimate responsibility for the overall success or failure of a complex, multimillion dollar initiative involving dozens of stakeholder groups, many person-years of effort, and a potential front-page newspaper story if the project fails.

Despite that, the industry has been growing steadily.  PMI is one of the fastest growing associations in the world.  There are over 500,000 certified PMPs worldwide.

Annex has grown with the profession.  The Annex Alliance has over 13,000 professionals today, including over 3,000 project managers in BC alone.  Annex has completed hundreds of project management engagements since 1998 in virtually every industry you can imagine.  In fact, Annex is one of the leading project management organizations in BC outside of the engineering and construction industry.

I enjoy being an active member of the project management community:

The Annex Learning Centre is a sister organization to Annex Consulting Group.  ALC is the only BC-based training organization that focuses entirely on project management education.  Coaching and mentoring is provided after attendees complete a workshop.

If you are an experienced or aspiring PM interested in contract work, contact us.  We have helped hundreds just like you.

If your organization requires project management expertise, let us show you how our passion for project management can translate into project and business success in your environment.

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