The Art of Project Management

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Have you ever asked yourself if project management has any relationship with art? I'm pretty sure many of you did it and I would love to discuss the subject with any interested.

I think two comparisons illustrate this point 

Analogy 1:
Considering that one of the principles of project management is defining the scope and that the project charter define what you want as result of the project the project. What could be the relationship with a painter?
We can start from the definition of a project "temporary effort to produce a unique product, service or result" [PMBOK Guide]. The keyword here is unique. There are no two identical pieces of art. Each painter has a particular style that makes them represent reality in their own style. On the other hand when a painter begins a work, starts with an idea and perhaps a mental picture of what he wants, but the truth is, he doesn't know how it will end. In a project we start with a defined initial scope that will guide the project's efforts, but throughout the project, changes emerge and require the project manager and the team to make decisions that could alter the course of the project and from innovation point of view, the result of the project could  be different from the initial definition 

Analogy 2:
The other analogy I think is even clearer. What is the function of an orchestar director? Without much thought we could say that its function is to guide the orchestra members to get together a sound that delights those who hear it. I don´t think that he is the boss, instead i think he performs as a coordinator or facilitator. Its function is to use the talent of each of the musicians, so they can obtain together a good sound. Likewise, part of the work of the project manager is to use the knowledge and skills of team members to achieve the desired objective.

Finally I'm pretty sure that communication skills, conflict resolution and other soft skills required for effective project management can not be considered an exact science, so there has to be some art inside.

So what do you think?

The truth is that in this reflection there is one aspect that I think is undeniable. No matter how much we plan, we know that within the project we can meet unplanned situations and changes, and to solve them we must use our creativity. Thus, part of what makes a good team, it is precisely his ability to find creative solutions to the problems they face and this includes the project manager.

Posted on: October 05, 2016 12:04 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Good one

I think of Jane Jacob's description in Life and Death of Great American Cities along the lines of people performing a ballet in their day-to-day lives, and that ballet makes up the beauty of a city.

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