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Projects depend on commercial skills

June 9, 2014

The discipline of Project Management has grown at a remarkable pace over the last 20 years. The title ‘project manager’ used to mean little beyond indicating an oversight role for a particular activity or task. Today, most project managers are professionally qualified and equipped with tools and methods that enable consistent oversight of performance.

Yet that consistency itself leads to further questions. For example, now that there is such discipline in managing projects, why do so many continue to fail or under-perform? The answers point increasingly to weaknesses in contract and commercial management – areas in which project managers receive limited training and where equivalent professional discipline is largely missing.

IACCM has been working to fill this gap and has trained and certified several thousand contract and commercial managers in the last few years. But compared with the number of projects and project managers, this is just a drop in the ocean. It is therefore exciting that new programs have been developed which will start to equip project managers themselves with increased commercial knowledge. These are being launched at the APMG showcase event in July, where IACCM will also lead a series of roundtable discussions on some of the issues that most frequently de-rail projects and how these can be avoided. Topics include areas such as scope uncertainty, change management and problem resolution, and the contractual mechanisms that can assist.

While a professionalized Contract and Commercial Management community is clearly important, it is also essential that groups like Project Management are better equipped with the knowledge they need to recognize – and avoid – the many potholes that lie in wait for the unsuspecting.

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