Posted in Project Management | Posted on 11-01-2010 | 1,016 views|
Yesterday I had a very interesting brief discussion with PMOT (project managers on Twitter), we were discussing how a lot of people are shifting their careers to project management and how some people who are not qualified to be project managers are really distorting the image of good ones, some PMOT said that most of today’s PMs are average ones and others found no issue at all, for me I have different view point, in this post I will reply to the discussion that we had on Twitter.
I personally believe that the project manager himself can be the no. 1 reason for a project failure, I already have written an article about this topic, check my article Why Projects Fail (Part 3), ironically the project may be stumbling and the project manager will keep looking for reasons why the project is behind, while he may be the main reason for project failure, a lot of project managers have come accidently to this profession, because apparently no one is born a project manager! While some are doing great, others are stuck in it! Playing an outstanding project manager’s role requires exceptional skills, the project manager gets challenged each and every day with problems to be solved, conflicts to be resolved, hectic calendar to be organized, a staggering number of tasks to be identified, logged, planned, tracked and more importantly PRIORTIZED, I cannot think of any other role more complex than the project manager’s role, comparatively, a functional manager’s role is much more easier especially a functional manager does not have to keep wrestling the triple constraints and often times he has resources that can be utilized, sadly sometimes a project manager will have zero resources and yet will be asked to deliver, and so he has to use his negotiation skills to get resources.
Communication is the meat and potatoes of the project manager’s role, communication in all directions, up and down, left and right, in and out, et cetera, it has been inherited that the project manager spends 90% of his time communicating, I had questioned this figure in my post 90% for Communication is Not Enough, with each and everyone; with team members, senior management, executives, vendors, media, testing team, end users, and customers. the successful project manager needs to have great communication skills, I cannot think of any good project manager who is negative or always dismissive, some project managers do not listen!
I do believe that so many project managers approach the project management as some kind of babysitting, spoon feeding, and of course micro-management, all these lead to certain failure, though the project manager may be PMP certified, majority of project managers do not try to apply the bare minimum of the standard, they just use it to increase the likelihood of getting a better job, and in case they get asked about certain deliverable such as quality plan, they just get one of the templates that are available for free, fill the blanks, and voila! and definitely plans that are developed this way will get shelved, from other perspective, many project managers, especially those who come from technical background, see project management as a career upgrade and relief of technical life.
Let’s be honest, our job has got bad reputation during the past few years, look at the exponentially increasing number of PMP certified professionals and you will get to know, I personally believe that PMP is not a silver bullet, I will derive you a very simple example, look at Communication knowledge area, what did you learn after studying it? while we have been getting reminded each and every day 90% 90% 90%, OK then what? the knowledge area does not teach you body language, it doesn’t teach you how to put para-lingual communication in practice, it does not even mention it! it doesn’t teach you how to practice effective communication nor how to write an understandable email and get your message across!
Projects fail ?! Yes they do, and project managers are responsible to some considerable % of this failure.. so we do have many projects and few REAL project managers
I coined the following quotes out of my passion to this job and derived by those project managers who make the job’s name worse!
If you are not happy with the project management job, you can try babysitting, both are almost the same the only difference is babies’ age and salary
Who said PMPs do not apply the PMP practices! They do on daily basis in email signature
There are too many projects and few project managers
You also what do you think? Do you get annoyed when you meet on of those fake project managers? Do you feel that your job as a project manager has got a bad reputation because of those? Please feel free to have an objective discussion here and leave a comment!