Posted in: Project Management

Project Management as One Meta-Practice: Creativity Codified

As an engineer, project manager, and consultant (for a few decades), I truly have never seen a project (especially sizeable and complex ones) successfully completed with a purist or solely traditional execution approach. Project Managers quickly learn that a “text-book” approach is generally limited as there are few if any “text book projects. Many organizations have doomed projects to the ashes by adopting methodologies or execution approaches for reasons other than a good “functional fit”.

Implementing “Hybrid” approaches, or developing execution approaches based on organizational strengths and resource competency rather than a staunch adherence to traditional norms, has long been a trait of successful project managers. The term PM One Meta Practice is a good one and generally if something is to be taken seriously, it needs a good name.

The fundamental assumption of a “one-meta practice” is that the PM is the functional architect of the execution approach. Naturally, this requires an experienced resource as if one is to blend approaches into a cogent strategy, they must be aware of a wide range of execution options. As we have seen on successful projects, a few other key areas must also be included for the   “one-meta practice” to yield results.

  • An understanding of where is detailed execution planning of value and where must we “scrum” a bit to let solutions reveal themselves.
  • Role delineation outside of traditional lines. Resource usage by experience and competency vs pre-defined roles
  • Functional manager’s compliance will be required for altered role delineation.
  • Corporate culture shifts will be required. Turf battles and functional protectionism is seen as the antithesis of results orientation
  • Stakeholders must have the temperament and discipline to be supportive of situational ambiguity

The “one-meta practice” is a lesson in creativity and includes a PM role elevated to senior expectations…the PM as the CEO of their project. This is a natural progression in the profession of project management. As project objectives become more complex, global, and inclusive of varied functional and cultural considerations, our PM practices must expand accordingly.