What happens when money gets tight is that some IT projects do not get their funding, and the project is put on hold, de-scoped, or canceled. If the project is not active, you don;t need to spend money on a PM, and when there are a lot of PMs on the sidelines, you may consider bringing one on board as a contractor, instead of as an employee, when a new project launches.
I would say that project management skills at a medium organizational lower level is a particularly strong tool for getting IT projects completed. At the higher organizational levels, however, such as managing all IT projects across a company, I think the jury is still out. I have definitely seen examples where the PM rigor at the overall level became bureaucracy which thwarted progress from a business user point of view... mountains made of molehills, only a limited number of mountains allowed on the radar, and then progress in climbing the mountains tracked at a meaningless level.
... but that might be a centralization problem... toward centralization for control, back toward decentralization for execution, the trends are cyclical.
Overall, some project management rigor can really pay off.
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