Becoming a project management 'grand master'

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In many industries change is fast becoming the norm amid the continuous demand to adopt new technology and improve client satisfaction. Project success first time round has never been more important, so it is no wonder senior leaders are now taking note and focusing on an often-quoted statistic that '70% of projects fail'. The challenge for organisations is the fact that the project manager they put in charge is a large part of the story of success - however, hiring organisations and recruiters honestly don't always know how to tell them apart beyond simple educational experience and project qualifications.

How to distinguish those which are good, or exceptional, is at best an educated guess and at worst a stab in the dark - much of it is also about your personal brand. With so much riding on the shoulders of these critical positions, project management is becoming so much more than the confines of its traditional description. No longer is the project just about managing of time, quality or cost, but now measures of acceptance and readiness are becoming equally important in measuring the success of projects. We are seeing the introduction of change managers to the PMO arsenal - particularly in the broader transformation space - but first and foremost, we are seeing PM's recognising the opportunity to upskill on key areas of change management in order to navigate the people and the process to deliver a project. Likewise, change managers are equally appreciating the importance of a good solid foundation of project management experience to help structure their deliverables.

So much of what both camps are now doing is a multitude of leadership roles to plan and manage the delivery of what the project was initiated for, and to ensure those that receive it recognise, adopt and embrace the change it inherently brings. We are seeing the birth of the 'Project Management Grand Master' - those PMs which are noted for their prowess in managing the plan, but who also, behind the scenes, move and navigate around the project landscape to support, coach, facilitate and communicate why and what is changing. These individuals will be in high demand and if you are one of them you will want to know how to explain your offering.

The Change Management Institute, in partnership with Kite Change (a subsidiary of Kite Consulting Group) commissioned a study to statistically measure the attributes that distinguish, good and exceptional project and change professionals. On Tuesday 18th July, we will be launching the results and beginning a serious of discussions around what the results could mean for individuals and organisations - we hope to answer questions like:

  • What attributes make a truly great change manager?
  • Do the exceptional people always get the highest pay? 
  • Are we always hiring the best applicant? 

We invite members of APM to join us and contribute to what is sure to be an interactive and educational event that will help you better position yourself and navigate the minefield of the job market at some future date.

If you have any questions please reach out to me at

Ketan Patel

Posted by Ketan Patel on 7th Jul 2017

About the Author

Ket is a certified Change Practitioner with over a decade of hands on experience leading change and transformation activities. Having led several large scale transformations, driven through M&A, he has a vast array of experience cutting across all business disciplines and activities with particular specialisms in Data Analytics, Business Operations (back office and client) and Technology.

Ket is also the London Lead of the Change Management Institute, an organisation dedicated to promoting best practice in the delivery of change. Working with the likes of Google, HSBC and ATOS Consulting he has lead numerous events exploring topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Benefits Management and Digital Transformation to bring trending topics to debate in the broader business world.

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