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We Don’t Need Project Managers

Author by Jaime Velez

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations around the world will need approximately 88 million project management roles to fulfil their initiatives by the year 2027.

If you go to any of the job boards and search for “project management”, you will likely get thousands of hits.

If your LinkedIn profile gives the slightest hint that you are a project manager, you most certainly receive multiple calls or emails each week from a recruiter claiming that you are the “perfect fit for a role” they need filled immediately. 

With no signs of Digital Transformation slowing down anytime soon, companies are competing for project management talent in one of the hottest job markets that we have ever seen.

So, if project management is such a hot skill and the demand is so high, then why would I start this blog post with the title: “We Don’t Need Project Managers”?

Because the truth is that project managers don’t add value to an organization.

You heard that right. Project Managers add Zero value.

Let’s explore this for a moment.

At the highest level, project managers are ultimately responsible for managing, directing, and completing endeavors that have a specific start and a finish date. PMs manage projects according to certain set of principles and guidelines that ensure such projects are completed on-time, within budget, and according to the standards of quality that stakeholders expect.

That sounds pretty important, doesn’t it?

Yes, it’s true that projects need a person to guide, focus, and manage resources, timelines, and risks. But what organizations really need is something else.

They need Project Leaders.

You have likely heard this many times before. There’s a big difference between being a manager and being a leader. Managers make sure work gets done. Leaders influence others to give their best work.

Project Leaders bring maturity, experience, and insights that other project team members may not have.

The biggest trait that determines whether a person can be successful as a Project Leader or not, are soft skills, such as empathy, relationship-building, emotional intelligence (EQ), adaptability, and influence.

Many individuals can manage. But very few can lead.

At Concurrency I get to lead projects that truly transform our clients’ businesses and I also get to work with some of the best project leaders in the industry. Not managers. Leaders.

You also don’t necessarily need to be properly trained as a Project Manager to become a successful Project Leader. But you must have the right mindset, attitude, and most importantly you must care deeply about the customer or stakeholder.

Digital Transformation does not just happen by cobbling technology and workflows together or by simply automating and digitizing business processes. Real transformation happens as a result of Project Leaders. Leaders that bring the best out of their people, and influence stakeholders to buy into the vision of their projects.

So, yeah… we do not need Project Managers. What the world needs, is more Project Leaders.


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