Requirements Planning

The PMs for the Industries

PMs must understand their limitations, as in this way they are considering themselves a part of the process that helps industries minimize risks and solve problems.

Some see me an old school project manager (PM), as I think all successful projects pass through the five process groups at some point, starting with initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closure, but each in very different ways.  My experience working on projects and programs are my attestation, which spans a 30-year career. Over the years, I have served in construction and healthcare.  To date, I have led just one stalled project. I am a consultant for healthcare leaders today, and I manage projects that require my attributes within the healthcare industry.


This article is a view of project management from the visor of a healthcare project professional. First, it is important to highlight that the culture within the healthcare industry is one example where the projects initiated within this environment often takes on very different characteristics, and this includes the artifacts. For the PMs considering work in this environment, this is a notable distinction.  Often, the documents that one generates in healthcare may have different labels compared with familiar documents from the guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK).


Industry understanding and documentation

When we examine many of the healthcare documents generated on the health care projects, what we shall see is that many will match perfectly with others we would have had to create on other projects.     The PMs that function in the healthcare environment should have a basic understanding of which documents shall translate across to yield the project information necessary to satisfy the project goals.  While a Project manager may not have medical training, they can benefit from being familiar with the environment. Familiarity helps to avoid unnecessary work for their teams tasked to execute the project’s work.


Base Knowledge requirement

Basic knowledge of the industry environment will help PMs use of documents, as they are better able to interpret the essential elements of each, and what they should produce in that industry. The PMs may have to create few additional documents, as many documents used will equate to those we have commonly learned in the traditional PM lexicon.  In many instances, the artifacts produced for projects in healthcare are very detailed.


Right project resource

Where I think there is an expectation disconnect, is in the views some people hold about the basic knowledge requirements for project managers of many industries.  One issue is some promote project management (to industries and businesses) as all-inclusive.  They often do this without recognizing that PM's are not created equal, and a base knowledge of the operating environment is essential to the nature of finding solutions to the problems that create the needs for the projects in those environments. 


What should be the PM’s orientation

An example of setting an unrealistic expectation for a PM is think of the one that their orientation strictly surrounds IT projects, and he/she could be exceptional at delivering those projects. Conversely, that PM may not be the ideal PM for the tightly budgeted projects without any IT implication. The issue here is the PM lacking this expertise may need the base knowledge to cross-match their experience and allow them to translate their vast IT expertise.  Failing to make background distinctions can convey a fallacy that suggests project managers are one –size-fits-all, which is not true.


PMs are not “One-size-fits-all”

Placing the PM in an environment such as in healthcare where they are inexperienced and need the understanding to succeed is nonsensical. Furthermore, such broad assertions it is less than useful and it suggest the PM can always deliver. 


Consider the Industry requirements first and foremost...

Recognizing most professions has learning curves, matching the PM to an industry for their skills and attributes is an essential first step to assuring project success.  Consequently, I think more projects will succeed across the industries by encouraging qualified professionals possessing the right skills, a variety of industry knowledge, and expertise to assess the industry problems, and work with them to find solutions as trained project managers.