A close blogging buddy Carpefactum recently asked me to participate in a telephone conference call with a number of MBA students in the US. Whilst eating some wonderful apple pie at my local coffee shop I listed the possible questions I thought I might get asked, and formulated my answers to them. Within this list some ‘killer’ questions (often asked by newbie managers) leapt out at me, and right at the top was :-
How do you manage Projects? > $25 million? hah
This seems a simple enough question. Surely the answer is:-
Deliver successful projects Stupid!
Well this is not quite true. Most Project /Programme Managers at some point in their career discover, often too late, that the best project /programme managers rarely get the chance to manage projects or programmes set-up for success. It’s the newbie /lightweight Project and Programme managers who usually get to run these kinds of projects and programmes (the successful ones). Sad but true!
I have lost count of how many enthusiastic project /programme managers I have mentored over the years who have suddenly realised the truth. That being successful in Project /Programme Management is not “the joy of giving birth” but being the “best funeral director in town”. Many feel disillusionment and suffer burnout when they realise this awkward home truth.
It is important to note that in answering this question I am not investigating the leadership attributes of a good Project Manager. Good leadership qualities will be covered in a separate series of articles.
The desired management attributes of a good Project Manager are derived from the four key groups of tasks that a project manager must be able to carry out in order to deliver a project successful.
It is more and more common these days for Project Managers and Programme Managers to act as salesmen once the initial cost estimation and statement of work has been produced. Increasingly client partners and sales consultants insist on such professionals getting involved in the sales process. Many of the reasons for this are obvious, but some are less so:-
- Add credibility to the chosen technical /delivery solution offered to the client.
- Assist the sales professionals in reshaping the technical and delivery solution to meet the more specific and changing needs of the potential client.
- To make sure the Project /Programme Managers colours are “nailed to the post”. This means that the costings and the delivery solution are firmly recognised as coming from the Project /Programme Management Professional and not the Sales Consultant. This takes the sales professional off the hook should the project or programme not achieve its deliver objectives. Therefore strongly advise “don’t lie to fit in with demanding sales people”. Remember, they will trade commission for your friendship at the drop of a hat. If they didn’t they would not be doing their job properly. You’re the gate keeper, and as a gate keeper professional ethics are very important if you want to keep your job and reduce your stress levels.
So, when taking part in an important Sales Pitch for an IT Project what are my top ten tips :-
Posted by Kevin Brady on Sun 20th September 2009 at 09:57 PM, Filed in
This week a regular follower of PurpleProjects (twitter) asked about the importance of Project & Programme Managers following a code of ethics. The problem with this however, is where to get an appropriate project management code of ethics to follow?
I believe the project management institutes and associations of the world (such as APMG & PMI) should come together to develop a common set of internationally recognised project management ethics. With IT Project Failure more common than success these ethics are really needed at this present time.
In the absence of such a list here are my own thoughts as to what such a list might look like:-