Ever wonder why your project managers (PMs) don’t seem to support your organization’s longer-term strategic objectives? Sure, they’re able to achieve project objectives, but do they have the business and strategic management skills that are so much in demand today, to drive your organization into the future?
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI®) today’s businesses must have project managers who are skilled in business intelligence if they expect their projects to increase revenue, save cost or seize opportunities to deliver better services.
This month’s topic is business acumen. It’s a handy way of summarizing a number of skills in the business-oriented competency cluster of PMI’s talent triangle.
Here are some tips for upskilling your PMs in business acumen.
Improve Financial Literacy.
If your PMs do not have business degrees, ensure they take at least one formal course in the business foundations of accounting, finance, marketing and management. Encourage them to read financial periodicals, books and annual reports. Give spot assignments that require them to attend strategic and business planning sessions. See if a senior manager in the finance department will mentor them.
Broaden your PMs’ perspective.
Upgrade Market Savvy.
Assign your PMs to undertake a market analysis project, conduct a customer satisfaction survey or monitor new trends in products or services similar to yours. Provide development opportunities on a joint venture or as a team member trying to solve problems in other functions in your company. Ask them to conduct lessons learned on projects that penetrated a new market.
Help your PMs make better contributions to the business.
Raise Competitor Awareness.
PMs who don’t scan the horizon for competitor threats or best practices may out of touch with the drivers of your company’s success. Provide opportunities for them to study and benchmark competitors. Model competitor networking. See if you can give them a rotation through a different product line that is getting ready to launch a new brand.
Challenge them to know your competitors and how the company plans to beat them.
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