Monday, August 27, 2007


Catchy executive phrases and project management

The next time you hear an IT executive tell a project manager that they manage projects and not people, kidnap that fool...

Everything is about people management regardless of whether it is called enterprise architecture, project management or leadership. Ignore the outdated hierarchical organization charts as having direct reports no longer matters. The notion of project management is a bit of a misnomer and reflects a sociological error in understanding. Yes, project managers are paid at work to get things done, but managers of all flavors need to understand that the sociology of work is more important in the longer.

An IT executive I highly respect frequently tells me that folks need to make more things as part of their job and not require projects around them. In noodling this for awhile, I agree with him in spirit but not in execution. I wonder how often the local mailman has to provide status whenever he encounters an unfriendly mailbox? he historical analysis is that in many organizations software development was originally managed as a function, then managing as a project came to the fore, and we are now transitioning to managing as a function again. Many of the managers attempting to manage the function still think they are managing a project, however, since that is their personal history.

For those who will get it twisted, I am NOT encouraging the embracing of the recent phrase people management as this is tautology. Let's simply ask ourselves why do most folks in the blogosphere absolutely hate the way modern project management operates? Is it because they use best practices and have comprehensive documentation in the form of a so-called Body of Knowledge? Maybe someone can comment on the characteristics of good project managers and we can attempt to figure out some patterns?

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