The rise of the specialist

Would you trust a handyman to rewire your entire house? Would you go to your GP for major surgery? I suspect that for most people the answer is a resounding "no” and yet in organisations across the UK, strategically important programmes and projects are being led by individuals who lack the necessary skills and experience.

Sometimes the individual will be a full time member of staff who is well respected within the organisation and may well have some functional knowledge about what the project needs to deliver but will have little idea how to achieve it.

Often however, the individual will be a generalist consultant from one of the 'big 4', being billed to their client at high rates. Sure, they will possibly be hard working, bright and enthusiastic (although in my recent experience they also might not be), but they won’t have the relevant experience and skills that their day rate deserves.

At ArrowPM we are increasingly being asked to take on project turnaround and rescue activities and in the vast majority of cases the underlying cause of the project failure is the inexperience of the original project manager: typically an individual who was supplied to the organisation at great expense and whom the client quite reasonably assumed had the necessary skills to do the job.

At ArrowPM, we only work with highly experienced project and programme managers – we are portfolio, programme and project delivery specialists. The individuals we work with have at least 10 years’ experience delivering complex change and have invested considerable personal effort in developing their change delivery skills. 

So, the next time you kick off a significant programme or project, get a specialist in. It’ll work out far cheaper both in the short and longer term than hiring an expensive generalist.