Resurrecting the Project Manager Role

Resurrecting the Project Manager Role

Resurrecting the Project Manager Role

I stopped and blinked at a headline on a Linked In post and choked back a chuckle.

It was titled ‘The Death of The Project Manager’.

The provocative title (for project people, that is) did its work. I clicked in.

The author, a professor named Andre Barcaui, suggests that the increasing use of the Agile approach with a ‘flat’ team dynamic – ‘team leads’ swapped out for guiding ‘coaches’ –  is part of the decline of the project manager’s role.

The second part is the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and its ability to crunch data sets and proffer logical outcomes and conclusions. Theoretically, this leads to one logical outcome.

He also suggests that decisions made from ‘instinct’ may be not just outdated but even harmful.

And there you have it: ‘The death of the project manager.’

To which I say, “Hold on Huxley, that’s a huge stretch”.

But first a caveat. Christina “CK” Kerley, a top technology futurist, suggests in her speeches and sessions that we want technology to take over tasks – those tasks that require lots of processing but little judgement.

I love having data crunched by tech. That allows me to do critical thinking, the creative problem-solving that is the sweet spot of any project manager or team. There are absolutely large data sets that I am happy to have crunched and parsed for me.

But that isn’t what the article suggests. It sees a world where leaders are replaced by a sort of group dynamic.

Nice try. Groups and teams are essential to the development and production of a project but there always needs to be one that takes the lead and ultimate responsibility for the process and end result.

In practical terms in the scenario by Barcaui, there would be a room full of well-meaning people on deadline day pointing fingers at each other for the failure to deliver. Blaming the AI will never get anyone very far.

The role of the project manager gone?

If you agree that the project manager’s leadership means more than creating massive archives of records, and you agree team dynamics, the culture of the team’s productivity and progress, are primary responsibilities of the leadership role of the project manager, I would suggest that the opposite is true.

Better tools mean the best project leaders will shine, and a project team will stay tightly focused on the process and deadline.

If you believe that how your people shine as project leaders counts, please sign up for KSP Academy where leadership driven project management respects people – and uses tools and methodologies.


Is Happiness at Work Over-Rated?

Is Happiness at Work Over-Rated?

After reading an article from a Robert Half newsletter that I saved in my ‘to post-fodder’ file, I starting thinking about the whole subject from a different angle.  The article’s main suggestions state there are:

  • universal factors that affect workplace happiness
  • unique elements that drive joy for each age group, experience level and industry
  • a link between happiness and performance

This connected in my mind with the book ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink. He outlines the changes in thinking regarding motivation. Pink’s research into what makes motivation work now versus the old carrot and stick approach is interesting. And it took my curiosity down to this question:

What is the link between what you can call happiness or what I would call motivated performance, and productive performance? And do you need happiness in the workplace or fulfillment?

Just semantics, you say?

I would argue no.  The way that people interpret words ultimately decides what that word means for each of them – and for each of them as they connect with the person who said it. Clearly defining anything in a practical sense includes context.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary: (for brevity I’ve shortened the actual definitions – you can find the full definitions in the hyperlinks)

happiness /ˈhapɪnəs  /
noun [mass noun] the state of being happy:

Hmm. So let’s go one step further with this one.

happy /ˈhapi  /
adjective
(happier, happiest)
1 feeling or showing pleasure or contentment:
2 [attributive] fortunate and convenient:
3 [in combination] informal inclined to use a specified thing excessively or at random:

And now let’s look at the other side of the question:

fulfilment /fʊlˈfɪlmənt  / (US fulfillment)
noun [mass noun]
1 the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted:
2 the meeting of a requirement, condition, or need:

As leaders, project managers are held to high standards – and some of the highest come from within ourselves. One of those high standards is how we work at keeping a balance between what the people on our teams need and what the project needs from our people.

Which do you think we have the strongest responsibility to help our teams develop – happiness or fulfillment?

If you find these types of discussions interesting, if you enjoy stretching your ideas around leadership, join our video academy and continue the conversation (and collect PDU’s)!


Why Negotiation…

Running Project Management workshops, I turn a few heads by suggesting additional skill sets for Project Managers.

Negotiations, Public Speaking and Sales usually don’t show up as required skills for Project Managers. They should.

Why negotiation…

Consider this: Project Leaders have to deal with conflict – in the team and with the stakeholder community. It’s to be expected. Bright people have various ways of communicating with others and, since that means you, it means you need to be ready to take on the role of peacemaker.

Conflict resolution is negotiation. Getting people to agree to a way forward is negotiation. And, let’s face it, you know how important it is to ensure a project stays on track.

The bottom line is this: Enhancing your team’s skill levels is a key part of being a strong leader. Adding negotiation to their array of skills is essential to their development as a team and your skill at managing.

Your team is the most valuable aspect of every project. Tapping into their growth potential is key to smoothing the bumps on the road to completion.

Grow your skills at leadership-driven project management with easy, action oriented videos – join the Leadership Driven Project Management On-Line Academy.

Learning, PDUs and fun! KSP Leadership Driven Project Management Academy.


Upcoming Events

  • Negotiations - A Critical Competency October 22, 2019 Chicago, IL
  • Leading Teams to Better Decision Making November 7, 2019 New Jersey, USA
  • Influencing Skills December 3, 2019 Private webinar
  • Influencing Skills December 4, 2019 Private webinar

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