When was the last time you said “Why is my organization doing this project?”

This is a reprint of a post from March 4, 2014.


Or were you to afraid?  How many of us have the nerve to ask this – after we have spent so much time, money and energy on the project?


question markGary Heerkens suggests “Your ability to answer this question competently and correctly, and to use that answer to direct the course of your project properly, will be greatly enhanced if you develop the ability to think (and act) like a businessperson.


Many moons ago the typical PM was asked to deliver on time, on budget and within a defined scope. Everything else would take care of itself.  So fast forward to a new economy, a new project environment and a ton more really great PMs out there… and we are looking for more.


I have speech I do for PMI chapters called  ”Eight Tips for Tomorrow’s Great Project Managers” that highlights, among other things, that to stand out in the crowd these days a PM needs to show added-value and one of the best ways to do this is to Become Business Savvy.  Learn to speak CXO language, learn how to read a P&L, a balance sheet, learn how to create a working cash flow model.  The day is gone when we, as project managers, can get away with the words “It’s not my job”.  The fact is that the PM across the hall does get it and can add value to any project.


In the book “The Keys to Our Success – Lessons Learned for 25 of our Best Project Managers”  (www.thekeystooursuccess.com) Gary offers up parts of the business that we should be concerned about: The profitability of the venture, How the venture will be financed, Marketing and promoting the venture’s outputs, Operating the venture after start-up, Legal and ethical considerations, The general economy and its effects on the venture, The existence and resultant impact of business risks.  So many of would consider most of this ‘out of scope’ but I ask you, if you were hiring a project manager would you go for the “I will build it on time, on budget and just like tell me” or would you hire the ones that says “Before I start can I ask you how this product will be marketed or where it will be used or” … you get the picture.


So I ask you once again, When was the last time you said “Why is my organization doing this project?” Do you think this is any of your business?


image provided courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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1 thought on “When was the last time you said “Why is my organization doing this project?””

  1. Good morning David,

    Carleton Sprott rejects my email — Kindly see my inquiry below.

    From: Bird, Tony
    Sent: August 29, 2016 11:08 AM
    To: ‘profdev@sprott.carleton.ca’
    Subject: Masters Certificate Project Management

    Good morning,

    A colleague (my Manager) and myself completed the Sprott School of Business “Essentials of Project Management” in February 2016 and are now interested in completing the Sprott “Masters Certificate Project Management” program.

    Our responsibilities include overseeing, monitoring and reporting on the progress, issues, schedules and budgets of roughly 110 multi-year Sub-Arctic and High-Arctic capital infrastructure projects (across 25 remote communities) with a combined annual budget of approximately $150 million.

    Unfortunately as structured, the “Masters Certificate Project Management” program would exceed our (Government/Division’s) annual training budget due in a large part to the prohibitively high expense of travelling from Nunavut to Ottawa.
    Return Flights can be $2,500 plus hotels and per diems for the five day courses for the nine modules in a single fiscal year will exceed our budget.

    Due to these unique circumstances, could an exception be made to allow us to complete the nine modules over two fiscal years, (four in year one and five in year two)?

    (This would still require Departmental Authorisation).

    We found the Sprott “Essentials of Project Management” highly useful to our responsibilities with the Government of Nunavut and would like very much to complete the Sprott Master Certificate Project Management.

    If suitable, I would be pleased to have a telephone call with Mr. David Barrett, National Program Director to proposes / discuss alternatives that may satisfy our needs and accommodate our travel budgets.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.

    Yours truly,
    Tony Bird
    Financial Analyst
    Capital Planning and Community Infrastructure Division
    Department of Community Government Services
    Government of Nunavut
    PO Box 1000, Station 700
    (4th Floor, Brown Building)
    Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
    (867) 975-5495

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