Mission possible

selling project management to senior executives

Worldwide, an increasing number of organizations are investing in project management in an effort to gain competitive advantage by realizing projects that can position the company at the forefront of its industry; these organizations have also found that project management can enable it to complete its projects on-time, under-budget, and to-spec. Despite this, project managers continue to struggle in selling projects and project management. This article--the culmination of phase one of a two-phase, PMI-sponsored study--identifies arguments that can help project managers demonstrate to executives the organizational value of project management. It also outlines approaches that can help project managers gain access to executives. In doing so, it details a framework--distilled from a literature review--for selling project management to executives, a framework that shows executive interests and successful selling strategies. It then examines the findings of interviews with 25 project professionals, findings which focus on the significance of understanding project management and the value it yields for organizations. It also explains the traditional process of selling project management--describing the sales triggers, both the internal and external--and analyzes the problems of using the traditional process. It concludes by suggesting a three-point approach for selling project management to executives.
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