Driving Strategic Outcomes as a Project Management Influencer

May 2023

Jennifer Duignan
Principal, PMO Managed Services, PwC US

In 2021, PwC’s Research Organization showed that “project managers are evolving. No longer a group focused primarily on scope, schedule and budget alone, the leading project managers today are leveraging new technologies to streamline much of what they and their teams have done in the past, to focus on influencing outcomes, building relationships and achieving the strategic goals of their organizations.”

Today, our PMO Managed Services leaders are seeing this play out across industries. They are using their empathy and personal relationships to lead organizations and reinforce the notion that a project management influencer can be a dynamic change agent.

influencer project manager

The delivery of expert project management tactics and advice is the foundation for building trust and influence. The P-M-P letters are not enough: A project management professional has the ability to help drive enhanced outcomes from the collective approach of leveraging digital tools, applying industry project management standards, demonstrating a disciplined approach, proactively triangulating a current business challenge, correct project management response and a tailored path forward. Consummate project management performance creates tangible, practical benefits–it helps improve resource management, mitigates risk, and records strategic decisions, accomplishments and knowledge gained–resulting in organizational trust and momentum. For example, Big Tech today is grappling with the very real challenges associated with reorganizing its businesses to respond to the economic climate, regulatory pressures and shareholders calls “to do more with less”. Expert project managers across Big Tech have become project influencers, advising leaders on strategic project and program efficiencies, delineating the impact of risks and assessing trade-offs and enabling in-house experts to hone in where their skills are needed most.

Project management influencers may be more dynamic than old school project managers as they apply creativity and ingenuity to fill project gaps. Project Influencers are not satisfied by simply checking off milestones and documenting risks; performing as a servant leader, keeping a growth mindset and jumping into solutioning when the need arises demonstrates a project manager’s investment in the ultimate outcome.

Influencer project chart

Demonstrating personal commitment with the business-led project teams, the PMO at one telecom giant began collating disparate project information into new strategic insights at the project, program and portfolio levels delivered to their business partners. In turn, these project influencers are reinforcing mission objectives across the portfolio and influencing critical outcomes. Elsewhere, we’re seeing project managers create trust across functions, as they call out the changing of “hats” to provide a range of skills, represent multiple perspectives and tailor strategic advice.

Project management influencers are always looking upward and outward to provide their project teams with all available resources and advantages to get the job done. Just as solution architects and product managers must gauge and understand the voice of the customer, the modern project manager deftly engages sponsor and stakeholder relationships to introduce feedback, calibrate expectations and rally change management momentum. Consider a major manufacturer on the path to organize essential business processes under a singular enterprise program management office to modernize technology infrastructure. These project managers across the new umbrella collaborated and identified quick wins for leaders to smooth the change glide path.

Whether it's in manufacturing, big tech or telecom and media, we’re seeing PwC project influencers step into new arenas and deliver results by bringing a holistic perspective as a consultant to the executing team, a willing participant in solutioning, and a voice to promote insightful and collaborative project decision-making.

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