Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Most Important Characteristic of a Real Project Manager

My company offers online courses in project management, and one of them includes my book, Project Planning, Scheduling, and Control, 5th Edition. We always send a gift card to students so they can purchase either a hard copy or Kindle edition from Amazon, before the class begins. 

So we have a class starting on November 6, and I get an email from a student telling me that Amazon says the book is out of stock, with no availability date given. Well, I don't know which version of Amazon he may have been using, but the one I accessed clearly says the book will be in stock on November 5. Furthermore, it lists 21 used copies available, and if you check those, many are like new, so if the individual really had to get a copy, he could have done so. He complained that he was leaving the country and needed a hard copy to avoid problems with Customs in foreign countries, as they will sometimes take 12 hours to examine every file on an electronic device.

If this were a one-time situation, I wouldn't be writing this blog. It seems that there are a lot of people who would rather complain than take responsibility for their own problems. And this is totally unacceptable for project managers.

You see, as a project manager, you have responsibility to get the job done, and if there were no problems along the way, you would have no job at all.

The first response to any issue in a project is to ask, "What can I do about it?"  You must own the problem and take action to solve it. Should the problem be a technical one that you personally can't solve, then your responsibility is to find a technical expert who can solve it and get that person on board. If your boss prohibits your doing this, then you are absolved of responsibility, and in fact, you are not really being allowed to exercise your skills as a project manager, and my suggestion is that you begin a job search as soon as it is feasible.

There is no place in management for whiners, complainers, or pass-the-buck individuals. There is also no place for those who blame someone else for every problem that comes their way. Management should be considered a profession, and I am certain if a doctor complained about all her problems, she would quickly lose patients. Be proactive. Express a can-do attitude. Be professional. 

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