For years we have heard it said that the profession of Project Management has become a commodity business. It’s fairly easy to start a company that can provide Project Managers (PMs) to the market. And many believe that just about anyone can fill the PM role. The training and education industries have perpetuated this commoditization by flooding the market with a ridiculous number of related certificates and degrees to meet the demand of PMs trying to distinguish themselves from the crowded field. While this might sound great for businesses in need of Project Management, the resulting effects of these changes has left business leaders only frustrated. 

Despite the easy access to a large pool of well-trained Project Managers, businesses continue to struggle to find the right people to manage their strategic initiatives. Highly trained PMs often lack the flexibility needed to operate in today’s business environmentsWhile others lack the soft skills required to navigate the complex communication and relationship building aspects of managing an initiative. When someone does demonstrate value added Project Management it usually doesn’t take long for that person to get tapped by the business to take on a new role deemed more valuable. And thus, the struggle continues. 

To alleviate the pain, businesses must not treat Project Management as a commodity. Instead, they need to view it as a strategic differentiator that can enhance their competitive advantage in the market. As it has been well documented that quality delivery, results in better value for the company and its customers. Here are a couple of ways business leaders can start to move away from operating like Project Management is a commodity: 

  • Deprioritize certifications as a qualification – Companies should develop their own training methods and project approaches that are customized to their value chain. Relying too much on someone’s ability to study for and pass an exam on a general set of best practices is a recipe for failure. 
  • Move the PMO (and related groups) higher on the organizational chart – You show what you value by what you are willing to pay for. If you view Project Management as a strategic differentiator for your organization, you can’t leave it fighting for influence and power across several lines of business. 
  • Promote into and not out of Project Management – Have you noticed your company promoting people out of their project rolesProject Managers are usually seen as individual contributors that aren’t dealing with the things a true leader has to manage (P&L and people). This contributes to most PM roles feeling like they are dead-end jobs. Put leaders into these roles, don’t take them out. 
  • Don’t manage your PMO like it’s a manufacturing plant – Squeezing efficiency out of the PMO has become the name of the game. After all, Project Managers are only overhead, right? How can we do more with less is the mantra. If you value your PMs, you’ll view them as a necessary part of your business and afford them the same space to grow, learn, and influence your organization as you do other roles. 

About Hill City Global: Our mission is to see our client’s vision come to life through the implementation of their strategic initiatives by working alongside them as a trusted partner. We do this by providing project implementation and related consulting services through our easy to work with team that knows how to communicate and fits your culture. We are proud to call Sofia, Bulgaria home. Learn more at

Company Leadership: Ryan Fischer, CEO and Founder

Board of Advisors: Chris Daum, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at FMI Corporation; Joseph Swarengin, Vice President and US CFO of Krispy Kreme; Adrian Donato, Ed.D, University of Southern California (USC) Lecturer and Founder of InterEd Strategic.