Projects as Usual

I was a great fan of the original Batman series on television, yes the ones that look really quaint these days, and which starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin; as the two crime-fighting heroes who defended Gotham City on an almost daily basis from a range of great villains, such as The Penguin and The Joker.

Back in the 1960’s when this programme aired I loved the perceived violence (without violence – unlike the modern day big screen versions) that ensured when Batman and his trusty sidekick took on the evil geniuses’ gang members.

Biff! Bap! Bam! Kerpow! Job done!

I was, of course, always Batman when it came to play time.

Well, let me give you a new version of that style of language to consider – POP, BAP and PAU! Job done!

Any business consists of two types of work these days, the temporary project based work – led by a project management community – and the regular operational work – led by business managers.

Regular operational work consists of activities on a daily repetitive basis that keeps the business going, such as accounting, production, sales etc. Business projects are different, they are temporary tasks that the business initiates to promote build the company on some way, such as new products, marketing campaigns, new offices etc.

That said they do have some similarities – both operate under some management control – both have budgets – both should have some sort of plan etc

Now both work types contribute to an organisation’s success in terms of products, services and marketplace standing but things are changing, it seems more and more of business activity is now project based (one major company declared that over 60% of their business was now project led).

POP: Projects as projects, pure and simple (well probably not simple. More likely complex and challenging hence the need for a dedicated project manager).

BAP: Business as projects is definitely on the up as each organisation strives to achieve strategic goals and maintain/gain market share, remain profitable/successfully and differentiate themselves from competitors.

PAU: Which leads to the concept of projects as usual, a point on time that some companies have already reached, where the project based activity exceeds the business as usual activity. This may be the very nature of the business – innovative or new to the market, or it may be a more traditional business that has entered a significant expansion phase or is on an acquisitional path for example. In this situation each and every business manager needs to understand and acquire effective project management skills in order to stand a chance of being successful.

Job done:  Well not quite. Just knowing this is the case and actually having the skills in-house to make it likely to succeed are very different.

I believe that more and more people will enter the business world having gained the necessary basic and broad project management skills through schools, colleges, universities and other development routes. But each organisation will have to supplement this capability with more local skills of how they manage projects. But the future is looking very promising for the world of Projects, Projects as Usual and Business as Usual I think.

As Batman said in one of the most recent films ‘You know that day that you once told me about, when Gotham would no longer need Batman? It’s coming’.

I believe that there will always be a need for project managers, but what is also needed these days is a management capability of successful project delivery – one man can’t do it all on his own (even with Robin by his side).

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