Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is Strict Adherance to the PMBOK(R) Hurting Projects?

A Gallup research study has found that

Projects often fail because organizations put more emphasis on rational factors than on employees' psychological engagement -- and the cost to organizations is enormous (download)

The report does not say that project management methodologies and processes are bad, simply that over-emphasis on them is. The report substantiates a principle that I have considered so important that I have trademarked the expression: projects are people(R).

I don't care how you slice it, a project manager's job is to lead people to a destination, that is, to ensure that they achieve the mission and vision of a project. Too much attention to schedules and documentation, explaining every small deviation from targets, can lead to annoyance, apathy, and lack of motivation to proceed with a job.

On the other hand, taking care of the needs of project team members is the first order of business. To use a harsh and perhaps bit crude metaphor, cowboys in the early days of the settling of the U.S. understood that they had to take care of their horses, or they themselves had little or no chance to survive in the harsh country. In the same way, a project manager depends on his or her people for success. You had better take good care of them, or you may wind up in the project management desert yourself.

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