I was recently at lunch with a colleague who remarked that project management skills should be taught to everyone as most people use some of the required skills in their jobs. Rather than considering it was a nice thought, but unworkable, it got me thinking. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to agree with him and I think that most people in their jobs could benefit by learning and applying key project management skills.
Everyone has to deal with defining exactly what the job is they are doing involves, and what it doesn’t involve, which is a key skill of managing project scope. Most people have to be able to estimate how long and how much their work will cost, again, key skills of cost and time estimating. Reporting on progress on what was planned against what was actually achieved and forecasting a future state is a key element of project monitoring and controlling, and also of earned value management.
There are also key areas in risk management, quality management and communications management that would benefit a wide variety of people in a wide variety of jobs. As with practically perfect project management the key is knowing what particular mix of skills are appropriate, should be used and will return benefit.
Beyond the benefits project management can provide to specific people and their chosen profession, it can also provide benefits to a wide range of industries that don’t necessarily routinely carry out projects. Industries and professions from accountancy, architecture, farming, manufacturing, tourism, medicine, automotive repair, education, etc etc etc could all benefit from some appropriate application of project management skills.
Finally, there is also a good case to make that project management skills can also be used as essential life skills enabling people to better plan and define what they are going to do, measure progress and accommodate any changes. Anything from career changes to weight loss could benefit from a little application of appropriate project management skills.
What do you think? Let me know if you agree or disagree.