Why is it the job of a project manager to fix companies?

Projects are the future. A good portfolio office can influence strategy and manage projects to deliver holistic improvements.
You’ve probably heard this stuff before if you’ve ever listened to a presentation on project management or listened to someone preach about the PMO.
The roundtable discussion on project management in the collaborative age took place in 2012. It was 2012 when the topic turned to how project managers can shape strategy. Many shared their hopes and dreams about how project managers can inspire leaders and work across silos to create the futures for their companies. All great stuff.
People are still talking about this role of project manager. PMI and other professional organizations are keen to elevate project managers beyond those who just tick boxes and mark tasks as complete.
I don’t think I have any problem with being involved in shaping strategies. It’s interesting work. It’s meaningful. And it’s great fun.
But, I must ask, is this really our job? What happened to the corporate strategy department’s role? What about the business development department? Or the CEO and the board. Why should project managers fix the problems in companies today and create a new future? This is not what we’re trained for.
Who is responsible for the strategic direction and management of our companies? Maybe project managers should be more involved in this area. We are skilled at implementing change.
We can implement change faster than anyone else
At the roundtable, I was playing devil’s Advocate and asking the question to see if others felt project managers had a role.
Paul Major, Program Framework, suggested that we accept the idea that the business world is changing with the consumerization IT, the rise in co-creation and collaboration with customers. He argued that a company’s competitive advantage is its ability to implement changes more efficiently than its competitors.
Software development is about how fast I can deliver the next version and what new functionality it can contain. It’s how fast I can produce the next widget, and what benefits it brings my customers. It’s the products I can bring to market quickly in financial services.
Delivering change is the key to competitive advantage
Paul asked, “If you were to ask around the organization who has the most knowledge and who would you trust to deliver change, who would it be?” “I would say the project management community. I believe we are better than anyone in the business to do this. It’s all in our belief.”
We know what needs to be changed
Project managers are out and about working with customers both internal and external to identify what needs are changing. We are often asked to work on projects or create business cases. Business analysts also help us to see what works in our company.
We have the ability to understand business issues.
Answering the question: How can I capture and describe what we want? What is ‘good’? What is the future? How can I create a roadmap that takes me to my destination? We have the contacts, tools and techniques to help you do this.
Isn’t that what a PMO does?
Project managers are often too busy to think about the nature of strategic intervention. Matt, one of the participants in the discussion, stated that “generally” if you manage a project, it is what you have been hired to do.
Your focus should be on delivering the project successfully. “Don’t spend too much time focusing on the tools you might use. It isn’t the most productive use of your time.