Project Management vs. Managing Projects: What Makes a Good Project Manager?

Parvathi is a Program Manager with Base2 Solutions.

On my first day at work in one of my recent consulting assignments, I was doing the rounds—introducing myself to the team as the new project manager with the job of implementing the system that the team had been working on for the past few years. One of the senior members of the team looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re one of those project managers…not sure if you’ll be of use to us.” It rankled a bit, but also made me wonder what made him so averse to project managers.

Digging a little further, I discovered that the team had a fully developed system—but when it came to implementing it companywide, there had been very little progress. The company had a project management office (PMO) that assigned project managers to the project and planned the implementation; however, over the past few years, successive PMs and their efforts had failed.

The companywide implementation was a multi-year effort and involved a lot of stakeholders in planning. It was taking too long to arrive at a consensus on “how” to implement and in what order, along with identifying the individual statements of work. This resulted in the PMs either losing interest and moving on or being re-assigned to other priorities. Hence, the general opinion within the team was that PMs just did not “get it” and were a waste of time to deal with.


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