Most of the
project managers I have met aren’t sure they are project managers. They don’t
need to wonder. They indeed are
This matter comes
up often as people consider the prospect of qualifying to take the
certification examination for Project Management Professional: “I’ve never been
a project manager. I can’t meet the experience requirement.”
are people who have been initiating and carrying out project work, sometimes
for years. Sure, no one ever gave them the title “Project Manager,” and the
problems they solved and the new things they created were not labeled
Yet, the results
they achieved – often high-quality results – distinguished them as very
competent project managers.
This is not just
in the context of the PMP test. It is everywhere in the working world. There
are people doing solid-to-superb project management who don’t know they should
call it for what it is.
“I never listen
to the readers. All they ever do is (complain).”
I heard that
comment from an editor back when I was in the news business; it’s been a handy start
to conversations about customer service ever since.
In a broader
context, it shines the light on a deadlier failure, that of management, in the
corrosive practice of ignoring/avoiding problems.
I got the
“benefit” of a double whammy in this regard once. I was working for a man who
insisted on keeping decision-making in his own hands, which made his say-so a
requirement for any staff response to whatever might come up.
One morning he
didn’t even pause as I attempted to get an answer to a rather minor matter that,
if neglected, was capable of disproportionately messing up our day. “I’m going
to a meeting,” he said as he walked away.
He brushed aside
both my interruption and the original issue. Any old decision probably would
have made it go away; instead, the staff was tangled up for a couple of hours.
How much of that “management” does it
take to destroy productivity and drive away quality employes? And the editor
who ignored his readers? The damage from stonewalling your end users that way
can be unknowable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be considerable.
can understand how that sort of thing comes about. It’s no fun when things are
painfully not the way they’re supposed to be. Avoiding the discomfort is a
perfectly human reaction.
But it’s not management.