Perception vs. Reality

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

At a recent event, I met a project manager who was clearly demoralized with the profession. In conversation with her, she felt that her work was not being appreciated by the leadership in her organization. More significantly, she felt that management was not focused on the right things in determining whether she was successful in her role--of course the overall project success was important, but management was focused on status reporting, process compliance, meeting attendance, etc.--tangible measures that were easy to judge compliance with, but were not necessarily the most meaningful measures of success.

It was a disappointing conversation, not least because I experienced something similar early in my career when a manager who didn’t really understand project management said to me in a performance review, “I think that you feel that I don’t appreciate you. I do, but I’m not sure why”.

Ouch.

Although the industry has made some progress since those days, there is clearly still a problem in some organizations of a lack of understanding about how project managers are contributing to the success of the organization.

Measuring project management
I think that the core issue here is that measuring the performance of a project manager can be difficult. There is one very obvious measure of success--whether the project was delivered on …

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