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Why aren’t the project managers in charge?

Adeline Teoh ed.
September 28, 2015

Our political representatives tend to be lawyers, business owners and career politicians—where are the project managers at the top?

The other week, when Australia’s 28th Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a former journalist who trained as a seminarian, gave way to the 29th, Malcolm Turnbull (a former venture capitalist who trained as a lawyer) one of the first thoughts in my head was: where are the politicians who were formerly project managers?

It’s a fair question, and one I wonder if many of you have thought about before. After all, project managers make good leaders, they have sound decision-making skills, are great at stakeholder management, and are prepared to make tough calls when required.

But it’s not just those qualities that would make project managers great political representatives. Project managers respect well-thought-out plans, they obtain buy-in from the people who matter, and they are essentially ‘doers’—can you imagine the productivity levels of the government and its agencies if project managers were in charge?

Having said all that, though, I think I can guess why you won’t see a great number of project managers enter politics for a while yet: it’s an environment that’s hostile to that type of effectiveness. The question is not, then, whether we should have project managers in charge but how we can make politics ready for the type and speed of change project managers can execute.

Do you think a project manager would make a good Prime Minister?

Adeline Teoh ed.
Adeline Teoh is the editor of She has more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business and education, and has specialised in writing about project management since 2007.
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