Management of X Management Processes

For the past day or so, I have been sitting in on Management Roundtable’s workshop on Program Management, and I think it is safe to say that the complexity of most modern organizations is mind boggling.

A big part of discussion on the first morning was working through the distinction of the roles of project management, portfolio management, product management and program management. From a theoretical perspective the distinctions can be pretty clear, but in practice the overlaps and interdependencies between these specialties can be pretty fuzzy. Perhaps, if you were only dealing with these four forms of “p”-word management (feel free to add other forms (via the comment feature) of other types of management that begin with the letter p) that could be manageable, but the reality is that you have to deal with multiple job functions within your organization as well as resources that are outside your organization.

The amount of coordination between specialized functions needed to bring a product to market today is pretty staggering, but I am wondering if the organizational complexity that has cropped up around the product innovation process is proportional to the level of product complexity. It is the role of top management to manage all the flavors of sub management, but it seems as if the generally accepted approach to manage the increasing organizational complexity is to add another discipline of specialized management.

The irony is that new disciplines of “management” are created to “manage” gaps between other management disciplines. The best part (at least from my perspective) is that the ability to create a new management discipline is virtually infinite. All that you need to do is find a gap, identify an instance where that gap led to a bad economic consequence, and there you have it, the opportunity to create a new discipline of management.

And if we are really lucky, we might be able to offer a workshop or a conference on this topic. Maybe a professional society will emerge that can offer a certification for that process. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in managing a blog on this topic let me know, and we will have our manager of social media connect with you


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