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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Paradoxes of Project Management

In Tom Peter's book "Liberation Management", (Peters, Tom. Liberation Management. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1992) he talks about the paradoxes of project management. In the book Tom outlines a few things we need to keep in mind when managing our projects.

Total Ego versus No Ego - On the one hand, project managers must be consumed by the project before them. On the other hand, they must have almost no ego. They deal with many outsiders and insiders whom they can hardly command. This means the project manager must take a smaller share of the credit for accomplishments and give a larger share of the credit to other participants.

Autocrat versus Delegator - When the chips are down, the project manager must issue orders fast. At the same time, the project managers must turn ownership over to the contributors.

Leader versus Manager - Effective project managers must match their passion for inspiring others with a passion for the grubby nuts and bolts of doing the job.

Oral versus Written Communication - Communicating orally and on the run comes easily to effective project managers. But, the must also be masters of the detailed plan and the daily checklist.

Complexity versus Simplicity - Nothing is more complex than dealing with a sophisticated, multi-organization project. The effective project manager must juggle, sometimes for years, hundreds of balls of differing and ever-changing shapes, sizes, and colors. On the other hand, the project manager must be adept at keeping it simple.

Big versus Small - Project managers must appreciate forests and trees equally. They must be able to see the relationship of the small to the big and the big to the small, and do so at every moment simultaneously.

Patience versus impatience - Smart, independent leaders spend lots of time on relationship building and networking. This is a s important as pushing project participants for action.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I value the insight of Tom Peters. I believe he hit the nail right on the head in regard to a Project Manager's behavior when managing projects.

Until next time...

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