The PMFlashBlog event has been, for me, an awesome experience. it demonstrated the simple fact that with concentrated focus great results can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.

Since the official release on Sep 25th I’ve had the opportunity to review all 70 participating posts. My objective in this review was to identify, in each post, the key sentence, paragraph, or words that appeal to me the most or those representing my understanding of the key message arising for that post.

The list below represents those key points I have taken from each post. It is possible that in some instances the comment needs to be looked at in the context of the surrounding paragraphs so feel free to use the provided links to return to the original post for further elaboration.

So here we go:

Any Art is meaningless if you cannot apply it to your everyday life in addition to its intended purpose!

I have been blogging on project management since – holy cow – 2005. You would think by now that I would have this question answered. And once upon a time I did. And then I learned more and I didn’t again. And then I learned more, and I was able to answer the question again. And today I am not so sure.  The lessons are never ending, but there are probably a few fundamental truths at the heart of it.

In one way or another, we all have something to do that requires coming up with a plan, getting the necessary resources scheduled and completing out the work.

Project management is, in essence, a means to an end. It’s about delivering stuff. Creating new business outcomes. New futures. That’s one of the reasons why projects can be so motivating. Outcomes usually outlive the projects that created them in the first place. That’s how it should be. Children should outlive their parents. It’s the natural order of things in both projects and life.

However (as Ferris Bueller points out) life moves pretty fast. Spend the best years of your life blindly running projects, being a slave to PRINCE2, and you could miss it. The last thing you want in life is to reach the final destination and to realise you didn’t care for the journey much.

The lot of a project manager is not an easy one. They have more in common with project managers in other organisations than they do with employees in their own. They share common burdens. They don’t completely fit in with the organisational structure, but they are absolutely and completely necessary. To a certain extent their work is unplannable and hard to control, but they are expected to plan and be in control. They work in a world of largely guessed at estimates, yet they are held accountable to budgets. They can be paid good money, but work is not always guaranteed. They can be deemed as responsible, but often have little decision-making power. And when they are able to make decisions, how should the project manager know what the right or good decision is? What decision-making framework should they use? Should it be what’s right for the project, or what’s right for the organisation, or what’s right for the client, or what’s right for themself and their career? Should it be a combination of these or just one? The project manager lives in a world of tensions and dilemmas.

Better Projects: Kelsey on “What does project management mean to me?” #PMFlashBlog

As a project manager on an Agile software development project, your job is not command and control, but is truly that of the servant leader, you play a key role as a facilitator between the team and business and are an integral enabler of the team’s success.

If you get to the destination, but no one was willing to move with you, you lost.

They didn’t teach me that in my PM training. That projects are people and that’s where the gold is. Maybe Oscar Wilde was right in saying that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. I’ve learned a lot from projects and the people I’ve had the privilege of meeting along the way, but I still know next to nothing. This could take a lifetime!

Luckily I’m a project manager, and it’s my life’s work.

I’m a big believer and supporter of project management as a discipline
Project manager’s understand that the  execution part of the project is the easy part. Planning and preparing for a project is time consuming. But when the planning and preparation is done well because critical elements like resource loading, risk management,  and communication plans, to name a few, were examined, it sets the team up for smoother project execution.

To many, project management conjures up visions of plans & planning, risks & issues, reporting, tracking etc. – all important tools, techniques, methods and processes. But for me, project management is about people. People deliver projects, to people, for people and impacting people.

If you cannot be trusted in the face of risks and issues, you cannot be trusted with the project. For one thing is certain, projects are full of risks and issues.

As PMs we cannot avoid the inevitable, or avoid events in the projects. However, we can change our attitude to reality. In this, each and every one of us as PMs are responsible for our attitude. Each and every of us have an opportunity every day to confront reality with a construction and positive attitude.

But most of all, projects remind us that human efforts are not a zero sum.  Projects show us that together we can add more than we take.
Project management to me is the science of effectively changing the world.

What does project management mean to me?  I can answer that in two words:

Shared commitment.

We project managers can help the developing nations to upgrade products and services using the same global standard, the PMBOK, as the more developed nations.  Using our craft, we can help this world become a better place through the projects we undertake and the value of successfully completing them.

I have never been tempted to change career, I have been content in this profession and striving for perfection in it from day 1, sure I have moved across industries, but always staying within the scope of project management

Self-actualization – that’s what project management means to me. And I get there by leading teams of talented individuals to create the right deliverables in order to fulfill the dreams of the involved stakeholders.

Project Management taught me that the most important skill in life is the capacity to learn. I get the opportunity to deal with new people, new experience, and new challenges. And with each challenge, I get to test how low or high my ceiling of complexity is. That is how much ambiguity and uncertainty my central nervous system can cope with, before I feel loss of control. I get to learn about who I am and what I am capable of. But more importantly, with every project I get to learn how to continue to raise the ceiling.

During early days of Agile, there were debates challenging the role of a PM in Agile projects, however, now it has become a reality that PMs are needed to handle the “admin” tasks. The prime reason being, they know how to “get things done” in any situation. Large companies implementing complex Agile projects still have dedicated project managers, but they don’t interfere much with day to day running of projects.

Remember, when you close this page, do not think friendships are cheap. Take care of them, there is always something to learn, and you will be rewarded.

the true art of Project Management shines through when we connect with our teams and stakeholders, helping them see possibilities and transforming the way that they live and work.

It’s been about the future.  And ultimately, that’s what project management means to me: an opportunity to help create the future.
We stand, every day, upon the shoulders of teams of giants.  As a project manager, I am humbled by the opportunity to offer up my shoulders to the future.

I get meaning from working programs (as we say) for the program’s success.
This success can be simple – it worked as we planned. Or it can be more complex
having a customer say to a large crowd, this program would not have been a success without you and your team.

Inspired by some pictures from Gilbert Garcin I found on the web, I will visualize and explain some characteristics of the ideal project manager and than the answer will be in your hands. Do we have them?

Thanks of Project Management I have many good friends around the world.

For me, project management is logically organizing your world in the interest of accomplishing something. Just that simple.

Knowledge of the PLC/SDLC, but more importantly, the processes behind the processes

Changing people – their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours – is at the heart of project management. Get the people bit right and our project succeeds, get it wrong and we fail to deliver lasting change.

I’ve been managing projects for several years now.  I have sinned often.  And I’ve learned from them.  When I started out, I did what I think most new project managers do.  I was a task master.  I had a Microsoft project plan and it was my bible.

As the years went by and my experience level increased, I learned a few things.  First of all – and most importantly – if the project you deliver to the business people doesn’t provide the value they expect, on time and on budget is meaningless. 

Secondly, if you drive your team into the ground to get a project done by a specified date, you risk losing some or all of your valuable people.  That will make adding value on your next project all the more difficult.

I hope in my lifetime we’ll see project management as a life skill develop and certainly something that every child has access to. Imagine our knowledge economy world in 10 years time if every child is taught how to use these simple techniques; something they’ll be able to practice throughout their school and university years. When they enter the job market after twenty years they’ll have a great skill set that enables them to make things happen in the workplace and any other challenges they face in their lives.

we as Project Manager’s need to continue contributing to the project and knowledge management literature and provide an opportunity to improve project knowledge sharing, and ensure projects achieve success for organizations.

Project Management – an exercise in common sense.

My vision and desire is to see more project managers transform into great project leaders; project leaders who continuously improve and innovate; who partner with their clients with a view to delivering what they need rather than what they want; and who maximize human potential by motivating and inspiring everybody around them to contribute to the project’s overall goal.

The impact for me was to focus on project management as a tool for bringing about change

Project management has always been a journey for me, where I have learned every single day from my work, from my team and from my mentors. It’s been more about people for me than managing work through tools.

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

The Project Manager, 2584BC- 2013AD

RIP

It brings excitement when starting something new, as well as satisfaction when bringing a project to successful completion and having formed lasting relationships with the team members.

The conditions over causes argument is yet to make an impact on mainstream practice – particularly in project management. Unfortunately,  those who wrote  the “The Book” (and those who update it) seem to  be unaware that conditions are more important than causes. It is a completely different way of looking at projects, so it may take a while for aficionados of “The Book” to make the change. That said, I’m an optimist so I believe that it  will eventually catch on; it is just a matter of time …

Well, hopefully it means to mean what it means to the business:

A leadership and management wrapping around project activity that adds value (to the business) by delivering predictable results for the business.   

My intent with this is now advocating that fun is what Project Management should mean for Project Managers (although I think I could give it a try sometime). But for me, fun is central.

The excitement that something new is going to be created is a fantastic feeling and this stays with you throughout the project as you focus on the completion. This combined with the achievement of finishing a project makes being a project manager the best job in the world.

Project management, to me, is multi-faceted. There’s a part of it that is about process and there’s a part that’s about dealing with other team members in a human, collaborative way.

Project management is often described as a set of skills or a collection of best practices, and while those descriptions are not incorrect, in reality, project management goes way beyond this. There is an art to managing projects that cannot be developed based purely on best practices, spreadsheets and organizational skills.

Anyhow, hopefully that’s given you an idea about what PM is to me.  Some days are great and others aren’t.  You’ve got to remember that you’re the Rock Star and the Tea Boy, so get in there and make a cuppa.  Mine’s a tea, milk no sugar!!

Whether you’re a credentialed project manager or accidental, the project management community is a place to share, empathise, sympathise, learn, teach, laugh, mentor and be mentored, grow, understand and appreciate diversity, commiserate and celebrate.

It’s being able to think quickly and say sorry, and most of the time, it’s about putting other people’s and company goals above your own professional ambition. But it works out well when the two things align.

The Way is not complex.
Follow the simplest path for it is The Way.  

Be open with your team and they will be open with you.  
Be one with the universe and the universe will be one with you.
The wise project manager is humble, he knows the team does the work.  

He respects and acknowledges the team and they in turn respect and acknowledge him.  
The poor project manager seeks fame, the wise project manager seeks inner peace.  
With fame come problems, with inner peace comes understanding.  
The poor project manager worries about what to do next.  
The wise project manager relishes not doing, when nothing needs to be done.  
Do little, for this is the way of the project manager. 

The truth is I knew I was a true project manager when I realized that my sense of gratification and pride had shifted from doing great work myself to seeing great work created by a team whose path I had carefully tended.

Being PM means carry everything, know everything and find that everything and everyone is okay. And this goes from caring for the environment in which we work, you have coffee, everything is clean or creating employment and generating culture belonging to others to be team’s emotional coach and understanding to each of the way it is, for make the best of all.

People are at the core of what project management is. The glue that holds these people together is relationships. Adhering people to your project to facilitate a beneficial relationship can really mean the difference between dazzling success and dismal failure.

What does project management mean to me?” Simply this: Make informed decisions, gain management support, and know how to deal with the unexpected.

Project Management is a practice for your entire life (personal and professional). It’s like having the ability to change the world.

Mostly importantly though, Project Management is about people. People who come together and work together towards a common goal, and for the Project Manager, this requires the facilitation and leadership to empower these people to carry out the work required, with an increasingly important emphasis on our soft skills to influence.

Well if you want me to give you the ‘glass half empty’ perspective, it’s easy. What project management means to me is a confused discipline where practitioners routinely do really dumb shit in its name.

Project management is about getting the right stuff done right, improving and building trust.

So, what does project management mean to me? That’s where I feel at home! Even if I do not get to meet my fellow project managers very often, I know they are out there. Accomplishing great things by taking the initiative, whatever frustrating politics or bureaucracy they have to deal with.

I look forward to seeing my profession of project management in the hands of those who believe in project management in the future.

Amen to that.

Project Management to me, means avoiding the current trend of turning a project managers job from what could be seen as a pure relationship role back into a project management role; doing the basics and doing them well.

I’m not saying that relationships and politics are not important, or managing stakeholder expectations should be ignored (and at your peril!!), yet so many projects seem to be just about this, and have less focus on leading a team to design and deliver.

Ideas Into Reality

It is time for Project Managers, everywhere, to stand up and take back the leadership role that their organizations need!  Refuse to be reduced to a meeting scheduler! Refuse to be minimized to a scribe!  You are the leader!  You are the hero that your organization needs! You are the last stop before failure or missed opportunity.  Rise up and be a project leader!  You have it in you, I know you do!

Project management is a road movie. And having arrived safely (hopefully), project managers are immediately looking forward to the next trip. The journey is the important part: making things happen.
So that is what project management means to me. Project management is about making things happen, and project managers are people that like to make things happen.

However project management isn’t all doom, gloom and stress. Out of the controlled chaos comes a great feeling of accomplishment and pride when you finish a challenging project, when a team is working well or a client is happy.

In a world dominated by wonderful human and technological achievements – the most amazing modern cities, technology and infrastructure for example, the world faces a myriad of challenges.

Global warming threatens to destroy many of the achievements of the past. Rising sea levels, if left unchecked, will flood many of the world’s great cities. Droughts will cause hunger leading to millions of refugees. Wars between nations will increase as resources get scarcer.

Project managers have a role to play in helping prevent this catastrophe by using that most precious project management skill of all – communication.

It doesn’t matter much to me about the project management framework, or how rigid or freeing the processes are that I use. What matters most to me is how effective I am at helping my team understand the vision of the project and working with their strengths to build a powerful team which will deliver extraordinary value to our customer.

That is what project management means to me…and that is my sermon.

I prefer to believe that the common thread between soldiers, engineers, and project manager is that they are mission oriented people.  We deliver something that has not been delivered before while trying to be on time and controlling cost.

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5 Comments

  1. Shim,

    Recap of the efforts is tremendous.

    I am still making may way through so many of the great posts.

    I look forward to come back to this as I continue to discover the other posts along the effort you set in play.

    Reply

  2. Shim, thanks again for making all of this happen. This collaboration was the most exciting thing I’ve been involved in since I started blogging, and I look forward to our next adventure!

    Reply

  3. Pingback: New PM Articles for the Week of September 30 – October 6 | The Practicing IT Project ManagerThe Practicing IT Project Manager

  4. Thanks for the round up, Shim. I’m still making my way through them all – a few at a time, but I’ll get there!

    Reply

  5. Pingback: Project Management Around The World, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Project-Aria

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