Project Management

Can You Know Too Much?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

No, I’m not going to write an article on who makes the best PM, the subject matter expert or the project management expert. More words have been spent on that than anyone would care to remember and there isn’t a definitive answer. What I want to focus on in this article is the question of how much the PM needs to understand about the business drivers for their current initiative.

Forget what their background is, forget where their expertise lies. What is the optimal amount of business knowledge that a PM should have on this project?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? As much as possible!
We have all read the articles (heck, I wrote some of them) about ensuring that the project team understands the drivers behind their project. That will ensure that they will be more motivated, more engaged and more connected to the project than if they are just assigned to tasks and told to get on with it. That’s all true…I won’t disagree with any of it. But let’s look at it in more depth from the project manager’s perspective.

The PM is responsible for ensuring that the project is able to achieve its goals--delivery of the agreed-upon scope of time, budget and quality. That will require the PM to make decisions during the project execution process to prevent problems, correct variances, etc. In order to make the right decision, they …

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