Differing Perceptions

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

We don’t “do” project management — we practice it. It is not a universal standard, but a way in to thinking about planning and delivering work. Without the context for why and how it can provide clarity and reinforce commitments, project management is going to continue to feel like unnecessary bureaucracy to many.

“There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.” — Origin unknown.
 
I spend a great deal of time talking to people about project management. Recently, that has involved working with several organizations to assess how they manage their projects and help develop recommendations for improving their project effectiveness. What continues to astonish me is that you can divide the commonly held perceptions of project management into two rather distinct camps: those who see project management as a value-added way of managing stuff better, and those who view it as a bureaucratic, administrative, valueless waste of time.
 
I have spent much of the last few months exploring this divide, and it is fascinating why it exists. Certainly, there were no initial patterns that emerged — each position is held by people in an array of industries, positions, organizations and stages in life. The perspectives are not overtly a product of optimism, cynicism, idealism or …

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I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?

- Jerry Seinfeld

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