Leadership’s Project Management Challenges

Gina Abudi – Contributing Expert

Understanding the value of project management to the organization is one of the biggest challenges for leaders. Too often project management is considered as tactical – with no real thought or understanding of the strategic value of project management. However, shortchanging project management not only hinders an organization trying to meet strategic long-term objectives, but also diminishes the value of some of the most important people in the organization – the project managers!

Too often one of the areas that gets cut from the budget is the project management function – whether that means reducing the PMO’s resources or laying off project managers or cancelling (often the wrong) projects. In recent work with executives and boards around project management and its value to the organization, I have learned the following about the challenges that leaders have as it relates to project management (all of these have come up in a number of client engagements):

  • Unsure how to incorporate project management practices into the organization
  • Unsure as to why they need to even think about project management
  • No individuals in senior leadership roles with a strong background in or knowledge of project management
  • Not involving the project management function (PMO) – when it does exist – in strategic planning sessions about which projects to take on toward meeting long-term goals

I have literally heard from a few CEOs and Board members – “What is this project management thing and how is it going to help my company?” You might think I’m disappointed or discouraged when I hear this – but absolutely not! At least they are willing to have the discussion and that is the first step!

When you have that open door to have the discussion, focus on how project management helps to accomplish the following:

  • Improved efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Increased likelihood of meeting stakeholder and other client needs
  • Increased likelihood of choosing the rights projects to work on at the right time toward meeting strategic organizational goals

When I meet with clients, I use examples and case studies from other clients that have successfully made project management a much more strategic part of the organization. For one client, for example, this meant having the PMO represented “at the table” with the C-level executives when strategy planning was done. For another client, it meant formalizing their practices and processes around projects so that projects enabled for increased efficiencies within the organization – which enabled for reductions in costs and better being able to stay a step ahead of the competition.

Your thoughts? I’d love to hear about your plans to make project management more strategic in your organization. Have some challenges? Let’s discuss them!


Copyright ©2011 Gina Abudi.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Gina Abudi, MBA, is President of Abudi Consulting Group, LLC. She works with clients of all sizes to help them focus on making the project management function more strategic within the organization. This has helped her clients to increase efficiencies, improve effectiveness, reduce costs, and meet strategic goals. Gina is co-author of the book, Best Practices for Small Businesses, to be released by Alpha Books in late 2011.  She has presented at various conferences and at client executive sessions and retreats on various project and process management, team leadership, business impact and ROI, and other leadership topics.  She has written a number of white papers and articles on various management and project management topics, which can be found on her blog: http://www.GinaAbudi.com.  Additionally, her articles and white papers appear on a number of international online forums, blogs, and magazines.

Gina serves as COO/President-Elect on the PMI® Massachusetts Bay Chapter Board of Directors and has served on the Project Management Institute’s Global Corporate Council as Chair of the Leadership Team prior to that.  She is Co-Chair of the New England Human Resource Association’s 2010/2011 Program Committee. She has also been an Advisory Board Member of Project Summit/Business Analyst World.  Gina has been honored as one of the Power 50 from PMI® – one of the 50 most influential executives in project management, working to move the profession forward.

Gina received her MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Management.

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3 thoughts on “Leadership’s Project Management Challenges”

  1. A great article- you’re quite right about PM bieng the first thing to be cut in any project, and how dangerous that can be.

    Not having open lines of communication, a clear understanding of what success means, and not having a ‘final word’ are dead ends for alot of projects. it seems odd to me that many folks don’t want to put a little bit of money and time up front to help ensure project success.

    Excellent Article, I’m glad I came across your site!

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