The Truth about Transitioning Techies to Project Management (5 of 5)

Summary

Project managers have increasing responsibility relative to the success of many organizations, especially those where being project-centric is key to success.  Yet, when many choose a project manager they treat the position as akin to that of an administrator or super techie.  Then they wonder why project fail to meet their goals and objectives.  The truth is they need a core of competent project managers.

If there is one point out of this discussion I’d like to leave the reader with, it is best summed up in a quote from Harold Kerzner’s Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling:

“You give me an individual who has good communications skills and interpersonal skills, and I’ll give that individual a job.  I can teach the people the technology and give them technical experts to assist them in decision making.  But I cannot teach somebody to work with people.”

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2 Responses to The Truth about Transitioning Techies to Project Management (5 of 5)

  1. Ivars Lenss says:

    Wayne, I was persusing your blog, and as a techie of 18+ years (while typically holding a position of project leader, whether official or referent), I’d like to include an observation I’ve made along the way to becoming a PMP: there are leaders and there are managers. (I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that a manager does things right and a leader does the right thing)

    I think that’s what Kerzner is also saying in a different way.

    A major impediment seems to be that those to whom a manager is responsible often do not allow that person to act as a leader. By relegating leadership indirectly, the more remote leadership becomes to the project itself, the greater the risk of failure.

    My preference would be for the industry to switch the term “Project Manager” with “Project Leader”.

    What do you think?

    • Ivars, I totally agree. Especially with your point about Project Manager versus Project Leader. Although the person in charge of the project does have to utilize both management and leadership skills, it is the latter that will determine the relative success of the project.

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