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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Why do I need a lawyer? I’ve got the Internet!

“The minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. ” Will Rogers

For all my attorney friends - you know I love you!

Data as a Service. Cloud computing. Machine learning.

These and other advancements are profoundly changing how organizations are functioning, but I suspect many haven't realized the transformation is under way.

Certain technical skills are being commoditized.

Think about that. If you need a simple will or need to form a LLC for your business, you can go to the internet and do that!

If you are concerned about drug interactions, there is a web site for that! If you need to know the best resort in a specific location – another web site! Want to learn how to dock a boat? Find a web site with a simulator.

I know that many of you (probably with advanced degrees!) are going to say that there are complexities in what you do. That no website can handle complex tax transactions, the “real world” experience of dealing with patients, or the “intangibles” of a resort visit.

And you are right!

For now…

However, the ability to manage the process is becoming more important than the knowledge of the Subject Matter Expert (SME). The technical knowledge of any one SME is dramatically less important than making sure that all the SME’s are involved at just the right time.

Which is what the Project Manager (PM) does!

And this is true regardless of the project.

Which is very difficult for the SME’s to accept, and at first glance it can appear to be counter intuitive. Surely a project focused on a technical area should be run (or at least closely supervised by) someone in that field. Wrong! It should be assigned to a trained and experience PM who will know exactly how to get the requirements out of the SME’s at just the right time!

But this is very difficult for highly skilled professionals to accept. They want to know exactly why you are doing what you are doing, why you are making the technical choices you are making, and must often be convinced to allow you to follow Project Management best practices!

But times are changing and Project Management skills are becoming more prevalent in the C Suite. As those skills are viewed as equal to other technical skills, projects will become better run and enterprises will become more efficient.


I am in Europe this week to participate in a project being transitioned to production. This was one of the best run projects I have witnessed in nearly two decades! It was technically complex and highly political, and the Project Manager and their team did an outstanding job. I can’t disclose more than that, but congratulations to my colleagues! Well done!


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