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Friday, February 19, 2016

Project Manager . . . Really?

     Most of the project managers I have met aren’t sure they are project managers. They don’t need to wonder. They indeed are project managers.
     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.”
     Baloney. These 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 “Project.”
     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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

How to Avoid Avoidance

     “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.
     You 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.