Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I am fired up!

In my daily reading, two articles peaked my attention today.  The first was called The Blair Witch Project Manager.  It talked of a horrible project and a horrible experience the person had with a project manager.  He then went on to say:

"I get, though, why awful PMs enthral senior leaders. The PM ‘Body of Knowledge’ features lots of complex tools and techniques that make ‘planning’ seem like rocket science. There are equations for calculating work and projecting trends that look absolutely stunning on a dazzling ‘status tracking dashboard.’ Clever PMs give their bosses the illusion of being totally in control. They’re strut about like business auteurs, so scientifically and artistically advanced that mortals can’t appreciate their genius.
In reality, I can put a couple of Eagle Scouts or infantry sergeants into a PM role and almost always get a much better product. Real PM is just careful planning, clear communication, and some advanced what-if preparedness. It’s supposed to be operational oversight that supports the delivery of work. It’s not what the Bobs of the business world would have you believe; an indulgent exercise in self-promoting cleverness that diverts effort away from real work for entertainment’s sake."

This is the exact message that I am fighting.  You can't put unqualified people in the role and then question the value that the role provides.  He clearly stated in the article that the project manager was trained by their company and that the project manager was not following the process.  Yet, the profession catches the blame.  

The other article is titled Phoenix an ‘incomprehensible failure’ of project management: Ferguson.  In this article, it was clear that executives had mandated a date, did not heed warnings to delay the implementation, and did not establish proper controls.  Again, the failure is placed on project management and not poor leadership.  In fact, what is the impression if you only read the title?

These are two shining examples of the exact reason that I speak, blog, do the radio show, and these e-mails.  The profession continues to be devalued.  These are perfect examples of  wanting to have the results that project management can promise while not allowing the process to exist.  

I was told recently that sometimes I write from a standpoint of assuming that we as project managers have more power than we do.  I feel it is exactly the opposite.  I recognize that most project managers are assigned the impossible and expected to deliver the unreasonable.  It is the power of influence that we can wield.  If we can push a date off or negotiate better terms for our people, then we are doing our job.  The PMBOK and all of the training is to arm us with the proper information.  What I feel the profession lacks the most is the application of those skills to turn cultures around.  This is why I put together the Project Management That Works Masterclass.  It is fueled with techniques, tips, and standards that can influence an organization no matter where you sit on the organizational chart.

In any case, these articles continue to prove that we have a long way to go to teaching organizations the value of the profession.

No Day But Today,


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