Peculiar creature is the practice of project management. One can be a geologist, an economist, an engineer, a biologist, a physicist, or – in fact – a master of any domain knowledge imaginable, and yet – at the same time – be also called a project manager. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to have a team to execute a project. You can very well manage and execute the project on your own. You can manage a project for a large multinational organization and you can manage a project as part of your school assignment. It does not denote size, it does not denote money and it does not denote consequences. It only means a concrete effort, over a prescribed period of time, to achieve a desired output.
Such a short-term that encapsulates so much.
There are many facets to project management. People in the know tell us that project management is a well-defined and well codified discipline. The Project Management Body of Knowledge – the PMBoK – for example, identifies ten knowledge areas, all used in the context of project management. They include Integration, scope, time cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk, procurement and stakeholder management. That’s a mouthful, but is this what project management really all about?
Different people, no doubt, will ascribe different meanings to project management, thus reflecting their personality and life attitudes. For some it might be about SUCCESS. For others about LEADERSHIP. And don’t forget GETTING THINGS DONE, MEETING OBJECTIVES, exercising AUTHORITY and then some.
For me project management is about the JOURNEY and the DESTINATION. It is about the spirit of exhilaration that comes to a climax when attending a well rehearsed play or a wonderfully played music by a well trained orchestra. It is about the build up of emotions that come as a result of the effort associated with building something from nothing. It is the sense of achievement that one feels when, despite all odds, a disaster is averted, issues are being resolved and risks are being thwarted.
But wait, there’s more…
Project management for me is about remaining true to my own values. Resisting the temptation to always swim with the flow. Respecting people’s dignity. Trusting team members to do the right thing. Empowering professionals to do their job. Listening attentively and responding respectfully. Applying due judgement while avoiding procrastination. Demonstrating willingness to compromise my ego in order to learn from my own mistakes. Exhibiting patience and tolerance when mentoring and coaching others.
“Hang on”, I can hear you say, “project management – for you – is just too much. Keep it simple and tell us in one sentence, what does all this mean? What does project management really mean to you?”
“Well”, I would say, “for me, project management is the journey required to remove the friction between doing the right thing for my client, the right thing for my team and the right thing for my conscious and to successfully bring the members of this iron triangle to their respective destination.”
Think about it!
P.S. This post is published as part of a first ever project management related global blogging initiative to publish a post on a common theme at exactly the same time. Seventy Six (76!) bloggers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA have committed to make a blogging contribution and the fruit of their labor is now (literally NOW) available all over the web. The complete list of all participating blogs is found here so please go and check them out!