Project Management

Freaky Project Management (Part 1)

PMI United Kingdom Chapter

Ian Whittingham, PMP is director of Calixo Consulting, providing project and program management expertise from initiation through to implementation, covering business transformation, workflow process re-engineering, and enterprise data integration. He is a regular contributor to You may contact Ian directly at [email protected]

“That freakin’ project manager!” is not what most of us would want to be called by our sponsor, or by anyone else on our project. And if it made you cringe with discomfort to read those words, I apologize. But what I hope to do here is remove that pejorative association by demonstrating that being freaky is something we should all aspire to if we want to become better project managers.

For those who have no experience of what a project is, I am often met with a blank look when I tell someone that I am a project manager. Over the years, I’ve tried to explain what I do in many different ways, but the one explanation most people understand is when I tell them that I help to solve problems.

Of course, problem solving is an integral part of many jobs. But it seems to me that this is a project manager’s core competency: helping to solve the problems that get in the way of achieving a project’s goals.

If you accept that characterization of what a project manager does, then the next question you might reasonably ask is: “And how do you solve those problems?” To which the honest answer is, “Not as well as I’d like to.” And this is where being freaky comes in, as a way of improving our ability to solve project problems.

Think like a freak
In 2005, economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner …

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