Why are Project Managers hated so DAMN much?
- Is it because of Gantt Charts and ridiculous schedules that don’t make sense?
- Is it because they are consistently seen as micro-managers who make you feel like you’re a tool?
- Is it because they wear suits and ties a lot?
- Is it because they walk around telling people what to do all the time?
- Is it because they only come to see you when they want something?
(And you know they are going to make your life miserable with their last minute requests.)
- Is it because they are controlling?
- Is it because they are always bottom line driven?
- Is it because they commoditize resources?
- Is it because they talk too much?
- Is it because even though they want your opinion they just don’t listen?
Is it ALL OF THE ABOVE?
There are a lot of reasons not to hate them too, you know. I just can’t think of any right now and I AM a project manager. CRAP!
There’s a reason for that which I will get to.
Before I do you have to remember that Project Managers are people too. They are just known as the slimiest, what just crawled out from under that rock, scary, unfriendly, single-minded and narcissistic type of people.
Hard truth, huh?
No but really, all kidding aside, it really does take a certain breed to fit the stereotypical Project Manager typology. You know, that data focussed, highly commoditized, bottom line driven mindset. Not really a very friendly description, is it?
So what makes a good Project Manager these days or is there even such a thing?
A good Project Manager is someone that is not seen as a Project Manager the same way that a Stealth Bomber is not seen by radar. Lethal and invisible. Well, maybe not such a good analogy but it beats the other silent and lethal analogy but then again I have heard Project Managers being referred to as farts especially if they are older. That old fart is making my life miserable. Ouch. What the….
Get back on point, mister.
The point is that the old school traits and methods of Project Management are just not good enough anymore (if they ever were). After all, when you boil the pot dry a Project Manager is really a leader and if you are going to like and trust your Project Manager they are going to have to be able to lead. A person, who can remain humble and who has the understanding and ability to elevate the members of his team, has the essence of a good leader. After all it’s the team that make up the sum of its parts and it’s those parts that get the job done. The Project Manager’s job it to make sure the team reaches its goal, that’s it! Another updated Gantt chart, unrealistic deliverable or overbearing unfathomable time sucking make work task won’t help in rallying the collective battle cry.
The data driven Project Manager is dead.
Just like 40 is the new 20 or different is the new black, the Project Manager who wants to find success, where success is partly defined by the number of likes he might get by his actions, is one that understands the human side of ability. Understanding that personal interaction is an asset, being able to listen, act as a colleague, understand that he is fallible, being humble, patient and most of all cool are all attributes of a person who fits the new mould of modern day, real world, practical, results driven project management.
It’s not a title. It’s a part of the job in a team.
So, now you don’t have to hate them SO DAMN MUCH anymore.
The new school of Project Management is built on simplicity, moderation and nuance all playing into a deeper understanding of the needs of the project. The ability to see beyond the schedule, resource allocation and commodities that make up the fundamentals of the basic project delivery model take us to that place where a holistic overview and sensitivity to the needs of the team and the clear understanding of the objectives and true goals of the project define the key drivers to success.
As I look for the tools to make this happen I am lead to the fundamentals of soft skills; attitude, communication, mentorship, interpersonal relationship, time management and empowerment to name a few. As such, a deep antithesis to the standards of old school Project Management practices. Of course, you still need a schedule, critical path and a good understanding of your resource needs but understanding people is the underpinning that makes for a good Project Management foundation.
The structure that surround the core skills of a Project Manager are there to elevate the team and encourage sound planning to ensure the configuration of the processes for successful delivery remain flexible and are able to adapt to change.
That’s basically it.
Flexible. Encouraging. Adaptable. Realistic.
Am I joking? Not on your life.
Well kinda. The acronym is a joke but the words are not.
Do you have any suggestions that would help us become better Project Managers?
What Project Management tips do you have to share that really work for you?
Do you know any FEAR-ful project managers?