Who’s Bob or how project manager can earn respect
Abracadabra! Focus Pocus! No? Simsalabim! Hmm… It’s strange, nothing has changed.
You’re still an ordinary project manager and no one outside the department knows yet who you are. Even some of your colleagues call you “hey, dude” or Bob (who’s Bob anyway?). It doesn’t make you happy, ‘cause you’re an ambitious person… but still not good magician to change the situation with couple of spells. Sure, you saw all episodes of Harry Potter (‘cause reading for you is not an option), but all the spells you’ve heard, unfortunately, are not working in the real life.
Cool guys do so in movies.
Then you try another – buying new shoes, shirt, expensive watch, maybe even briefcase. You enter the office only with coffee in your hand, ‘cause cool guys do so in movies. Nevertheless, all this does not enhance your authority. So what’s next? Perhaps you may try to find the biggest guy in the room and beat the crap out of him before the very eyes of your colleagues? Naaah, not today. However people would talk about you.
I won’t argue, in the IT business technical cadres’ attitude to project managers is questionable, sometimes critical and often preconceived. They usually don’t understand the role of PM, they don’t understand the benefits he brings and see project manager more like obstacle, rather than a real aid.
Indeed, if you have no technical knowledge and you are not able to code or develop, how exactly can you be useful? Anyone can plan, especially if the plan will be realized by someone else. Arrange a meeting, discuss current statuses – pour a sieve. All of this is wasting of time, which, by the way, project managers have a lot.
PMs do nothing.
PMs do nothing useful, just discourage, taking the precious time and effort away. Not to mention that absolutely everyone can negotiate with customers. And unique skills, deep knowledge or experience aren’t required for that. So in this particular field, a project manager can be easily replaced by anyone, even by Stephan from the next room, because he have the gift of the gab. PMs are so invertebrates that even getting of normal terms is huge issue for them. They just bend their backs and dance before clients’ caprices. But, at the same time, turn up noses at the team and behave themselves like big bosses.
Yep, it’s more a stereotype rather than truth. But still there’s something to it. As soon as PMs achieved some success, they’re often slowing down and “specifying” themselves, cutting the space for potential improvement. And this is a big mistake, ‘cause a successful project manager, besides the specific knowledge – projects planning, scheduling, meetings organization, reports preparation, must also grow technically.
Technical world progresses faster.
It is important not to lose the short straw, which links business and technical languages. Make sure to keep at least the minimum of required technical words for this. To keep up, not to learn by heart and stop. ‘Cause technical world progresses faster and more dynamic than business does. It’s notable that today not only the IT grows around the business, but also, increasingly, the business grows around the IT. So, in some areas now the business needs to catch up the IT and adapt to new trends and technologies. Therefore, a successful project manager should always stay “in the trend”. And, of course, always remain a human, no matter who you are talking with – customers, supervisors or subordinates.
Successful project manager.
During the task planning, manager should bear in mind not only client’s requirements, but also consider whole thing from the perspective of person who will fulfill those requirements. Despite often situations when it is necessary to justify all client’s “stupid and illogical business requirements” with stories about good and evil, love and hate, power and intellect – about anything, just to make developers believe in this “great deal”, and although business requirements sometimes are really irrational, client is our everything!
Sure, a successful project manager have to know many things and should have diverse skills and qualities, such as leadership, the ability to plan, analyze, motivate, he is supposed to bring people together, organize their work and keep friendly and positive atmosphere in the team. But one of the most important project management tools is the ability to talk to people in “their language”.