You Are What You Integrate

This week I posted several blogs focusing on the complete project manager. This is a concept covered in our new book of the same title whose premise is:  successful projects are done by skilled project managers and teams, supported by effective project sponsors; it is the integration of a spectrum of skills that enables certain individuals to make a difference and achieve more optimized outcomes. Those blogs are:  Accelerating Team Performance, Case Study: PMs Need Sales Skills, The Importance of Attitude, Creating Organizational Effectiveness.

A molecular analogy helps to complete and see the big picture. I marvel at the wonders created by nature and modern chemistry. We constantly experience new products emerging as a result of molecular combinations and increased miniaturization. Vitamin and drug pills are extremely potent yet come in small packages. These marvels are possible because of molecular complexity. A complex molecule can bind tightly to various targets because it can form lots of interactions. Infinite varieties appear possible due to various combinations within the molecules.

Development of project, program, and portfolio managers can follow a similar path. Integrating skills from multiple disciplines allows for increased potency. Yes, individuals can be effective by concentrating and developing deep competency in one professional discipline. Even more powerful, especially in project management which encompasses a vast set of tasks, is to become versed in a variety of skills. Thus, we can visualize a molecular structure as an organic analogy for the complete project manager.

Here is a summary of this visualization process, as Alfonso Bucero and I put it together for The Complete Project Manager:

  • Organic compounds are structurally diverse. The range of application of organic compounds is enormous.
  • They form the basis of, or are important constituents of, many products and almost all earthly life processes.
  • Organic molecules often contain a higher level of complexity compared to purely inorganic compounds, so the synthesis of organic compounds has developed into one of the most important branches of chemistry.  
  • Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently.  It is a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals and better compete in their markets.
  • Upon realizing that project management is all about people, we are struck by the enormous complexity of interests, styles, approaches, and interactive dynamics that get unleashed when attempting cross-organizational project work.
  • As in life itself, unlimited combinations are possible for the molecule surrounding complete project managers.
  • There are many ways to assemble successful outcomes based upon additional skillsets.
  • New possibilities will emerge by various combinations of skills.
  • The profession of project, program, and portfolio management will truly benefit from new developments among the people inhabiting its space.

We invite you to explore this concept with us, through studying, adopting, adapting, and applying new mindsets. It doesn’t take learning or buying a whole new system. It simply means thinking differently about your career and development. Expand thinking into the fields of leadership, management, negotiations, sales, politics, change and conflict management, market and customer development. Move from toxic to green environments by paying attention to organizational concerns.

A starting point is a simple assessment by scoring yourself using this spider diagram:

An assessment molecule for the complete project manager

All development is movement between reflection and action. Use the results from this initial assessment to leverage strengths, identify latent possibilities, and determine areas for development. Take action, perhaps a few minutes every day, to discover ways to have more fun, learn relevant skills, find best practices, and put them to use. Come back and reassess yourself in several months. Marvel at how much more productive you become. Enjoy the process.

Best wishes,

Randy Englund, Englund Project Management Consultancy,

Co-author, The Complete Project Manager: Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills and The Complete Project Manager’s Toolkit


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