I love watching the Summer Olympics – the athletes are amazing and the competition is fantastic. There are many athletes who excel in one sport but the decathlon is the ultimate event in which athletes need to excel in ten different sports. One projects there are also one-sport athletes such as Business Analysts, Architects and Testers who specialize in their areas. Project Managers are more like Decathlon athletes who need to excel in many areas. The PM Decathlon would consist of these 10 events…..
- Project Planning and Scheduling – the ability to aggregate all of the work and plan it out properly with dependencies and constraints
- Financial Management – the tracking and reporting of budget, actual costs, and variances and managing resources and cost drivers to stay within budget
- Facilitation – Negotiating conflicts, running meetings and ensuring that decsions get made
- Executive Presenting – making presentations which convey the right messages and influence/inform stakeholders
- Risk and Issue Management – identifying the managing anything risking the ability to deliver on project commitments
- Analysis – The ability to analyze risks, issues, decisions, plans and present information for decisions to be made
- Scope – Understanding the scope of the project and how it will be delivered
- Solution – Understanding the solution being delivered on the project
- Leadership – The ability to influence, motivate and negotiate across the many resources and stakeholders
- Communication – Communicating project information to various stakeholders using terms and context they understan
Project Managers must be able to perform in all events of the Decathlon and be proficient at all of them. They can not be an athlete who only focuses on a few of the areas or else the project falls apart. For example, not being able to plan or manage issues will mean failure for the project. Similarly, not knowing the scope or solution will not make the Pm effective at articulating progress or risks.
So, like the Decathlon athletes, we need to train all of our skills and be able to compete in all events if we want to be successful.