American research into project management focuses on soft skills


According to Carl Pritchard’s article in the March 2011 issue of Project Manager Today, research into project management in the United States is not focused on tools and methods like PMI and PRINCE2 but is instead looking at areas which can only be described as ‘soft skills’.  He reports that areas of research across Universities in the USA are principally focused on:

  • Virtual teams and making them work more effectively across cultures
  • Finding accommodation between project goals and super-ordinate goals of the parent organisations
  • Accommodation across project stakeholders
  • Evaluation of PMs, recognition and reward, and performance management
  • PM maturity and how to generate better PMs
  • Impact of collaboration between PMs on performance of the overall portfolio
  • Matching requirements to delivery (getting BAs and PMs to work more closely together)
  • Linking training to competence and performance management.

I am pleased with this trend.  Tools are important but knowing how to use them is more so.  I think I cover most of these aspects in my book on NLP4PM and will certainly be keeping my eye on developments.

‘(Project) Management is a combination of toolset and mindset.  Currently the PM toolset box is overflowing and cluttered. It needs a good clean-out.  On the other hand the PM mindset box is alarmingly empty except for some snake oil.  The way ahead is a combination of mindset and toolset and we’ve done toolset to death.  NLP4PM is the articulation of an idea which works elsewhere and needed explaining in our language is therefore to be welcomed with open arms (and minds).’  Steve Wake, Chairman APM Planning SIG, Chairman APM Earned Value SIG

What do you think the APM should be directing research towards ?

Peter Parkes, author of ‘NLP for Project Managers: delivering using neuro-linguistic programming, Director, Peak Performance