Project Management

The Problem with Project Management

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The Problem with Project Management

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Categories: Lean, Project Leadership


Value

Does your team know what value you bring to the process of creating products?
 
Do your stakeholders know?
 
Do you know?
 
One sad truth is the real value being added by project managers in some cases is very little.
 
Sometimes project managers get in the way of making progress in product development.
 
But even if a project manager is adding value, exactly how? And if people don't know about it, are you just fooling yourself?
 
If your team thinks you are just there to create slide decks, go to meetings, and be the book boss on the schedule - you're probably not as valuable as you think you are.
 
If your stakeholders and sponsor think you are just there so they have a single point of contact to interact with instead of having to talk to the team members - you're probably not as valuable as you think you are.
 

How To Really Add Value

 
It's going to be different on the various project sizes and types out there.
 
But in general you have to ask yourself one question.
 
"What would this project look like if I were not here?"
 
I have seen teams with a strong lead developer or just a strong internal leader within the team excel after a project manager leaves. They were holding the team back.
 
In my experience, these types of value-negative project managers come in two flavors.
 

The Bean Counter

 
The bean counter spends all day in spreadsheets and schedules.
 
The technical aspects of the product being developed are better left entirely to the team from his perspective.
 
As a result, the bean counter must rely heavily on technical staff even for briefings to stakeholders or sponsors. 
 
The bean counter spends many hours of the teams' time and their own getting very detailed and micro-managing on things like charge codes, ity-bity estimates, etc.
 
Very little value is being added - the technical staff would likely be making more progress without the bean counter.
 

The Guru Who Won't Let Go

 
The guru has come up through the ranks and is seen as one of the top technical resources around.
 
She probably got bored at being so awesome and wanted to branch out into project management.
 
But now she won't let go.
 
She may be very helpful and go out of her way to do everything she can. She carries the weight of the project on her shoulders. Everyone looks to her.
 
She's become a bottleneck for the project. All technical decisions go through her, even if she's not asking for it. The rest of the team just sees her as the person who should be making all decisions.
 
Chances are, if she were to leave the rest of the team is fully capable of stepping up and making those decisions. Their work would get done more quickly as they stop waiting on decisions for this over-worked guru.
 
She'd love to empower her team but doesn't know how. It just feels like she'd be letting them down if she told them to make their own decisions about the details.
 
Any of this sound familiar? Is project management a value-added activity in your organization?
 
How so?
 
The Problem With Project Management Series:
Any of this sound familiar? Is project management a value-added activity in your organization? How so?The Problem with Project Management: Value
 
Does your team know what value you bring to the process of creating products?
 
Do your stakeholders know?
 
Do you know?
 
One sad truth is the real value being added by project managers in some cases is very little.
 
Sometimes project managers get in the way of making progress in product development.
 
But even if a project manager is adding value, exactly how? And if people don't know about it, are you just fooling yourself?
 
If your team thinks you are just there to create slide decks, go to meetings, and be the book boss on the schedule - you're probably not as valuable as you think you are.
 
If your stakeholders and sponsor think you are just there so they have a single point of contact to interact with instead of having to talk to the team members - you're probably not as valuable as you think you are.
 
How To Really Add Value
 
It's going to be different on the various project sizes and types out there.
 
But in general you have to ask yourself one question.
 
"What would this project look like if I were not here?"
 
I have seen teams with a strong lead developer or just a strong internal leader within the team excel after a project manager leaves. They were holding the team back.
 
In my experience, these types of value-negative project managers come in two flavors.
 
The Bean Counter
 
The bean counter spends all day in spreadsheets and schedules.
 
The technical aspects of the product being developed are better left entirely to the team from his perspective.
 
As a result, the bean counter must rely heavily on technical staff even for briefings to stakeholders or sponsors. 
 
The bean counter spends many hours of the teams' time and their own getting very detailed and micro-managing on things like charge codes, ity-bity estimates, etc.
 
Very little value is being added - the technical staff would likely be making more progress without the bean counter.
 
The Guru Who Won't Let Go
 
The guru has come up through the ranks and is seen as one of the top technical resources around.
 
She probably got bored at being so awesome and wanted to branch out into project management.
 
But now she won't let go.
 
She may be very helpful and go out of her way to do everything she can. She carries the weight of the project on her shoulders. Everyone looks to her.
 
She's become a bottleneck for the project. All technical decisions go through her, even if she's not asking for it. The rest of the team just sees her as the person who should be making all decisions.
 
Chances are, if she were to leave the rest of the team is fully capable of stepping up and making those decisions. Their work would get done more quickly as they stop waiting on decisions for this over-worked guru.
 
She'd love to empower her team but doesn't know how. It just feels like she'd be letting them down if she told them to make their own decisions about the details.
 
Any of this sound familiar? Is project management a value-added activity in your organization? How so?
Posted on: November 20, 2012 06:47 PM | Permalink

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