This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.
Monday, July 07, 2008
No Respect -- Scott Berkun has written a great piece in Why project managers get no respect, on the perceived roles of PMs - perceptions that are created and reinforced by all the bureaucratic trappings with which many PMs surround themselves with as proof of their value.
"This lack of respect creates a huge opportunity for people who open minds: their expectations of you are low. If you take the time to find out what it is that the people on the project need from you, or value from you, and make that as large a part of your job as possible, you'll get more respect than you expect. And you may find that people start referring to you as a different kind of PM - one who has changed their opinion of what PMs can do for a team - and you’ll earn not only their respect, but their trust and best work too."
This is so very much in sync with how I have tried to perform the PM role and something I've had to think about carefully for interviews in my current job search.
Project Management - the way I try to do it - is 1) about serving/leading the team (worrying about the process not to keep the team in line with it, but rather so the team doesn't have to worry about it), 2) about helping the people who do the making understand what they are making, defining (for communication purposes) the boxes, and more importantly (for modeling the effort for them), the arrows between those boxes, and 3) assuring that the promises being made are both feasible and realistic at the outset, and protected along the way (especially working with other project managers to avoid/minimize cross-project interference).
In my last four years at an interactive agency, one of the things I am most proud of is that while in the beginning, I had to horn my way into certain projects to get to know the business and its processes, in the end, teams were asking for the support of myself and other project managers in the firm. I like to think that I didn't change their opinions of project managers as Berkun talks about (because project management was not all that mature in the agency four years ago), but rather taught them by example how to rely on our project managers to help everyone do their best work building our marketing programs and web sites.
It wasn't out plans and schedules. It was our communication supporting our dedication to helping the team and the client meet their goals.