Lessons with Lauren: Business Acumen for Project Managers

Posted by Lauren Keen on November 15, 2016

The Training and Development Manager at a mid-size transportation company reached out recently regarding their project managers’ lack of business acumen.

A sample concern these project managers experience is they get so busy once projects are in full swing they can’t find the time to order materials as they go. Instead, they order materials up front. They might place an order in November for materials they need through March. This practice generates a cash flow issue because cash is leaving the company long before it needs to; in this case, even during a prior fiscal year. To make matters worse, they do not bill for their services until the end of a project.

The organization is taking several steps to better define and adapt their Project Management Process. As they move forward, the goal is to build the project managers’ business acumen, so they will understand:

  • Why leaders are making changes to the process
  • The importance of cash flow and payment terms

The amount of cash moving into or out of the company

  • How the project team members fit into the bigger picture of the project and organization financials

This manager and I are considering ways our business simulations will fill these gaps in 2017.

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