The Pain of Project Managers

As a project manager, you scan the future for problems. You foresee the pitfalls, You warn your stakeholders about them, And you give them options to avoid the risks. But they don’t decide early.They take a wait and see approach.They want to keep their options open.The longer they wait, the fewer the optionsAnd the more … Read more

Do Work Below Your Pay Grade

I once worked in a corporation where you never talk to the CEO. Then I joined a new organization. One day, I was checking my slot in the mailroom when the CEO walked in. I pretended not to notice. He greeted me by name and we exchanged some small talk. Wow! That blew my mind … Read more

Deliver the Project Goal, Not the Project Plan

Would you rather have the perfect project plan, extended so that it eliminates all risk and is overbudgeted so that you have all the right resources, before you reach your goal? Or would you rather have a minimum viable project plan that gets you to the goal quicker and cheaper, with the tradeoff of accepting … Read more

Hybrid work is here to stay

Nick Bloom predicts that U.S. workers will spend a quarter of their time working from home in the next 10 years. The economics professor at Stanford University says, “I talk to hundreds of companies about remote work, and 95 percent of them now say they’re going hybrid, while the other 5 percent are going full … Read more

Culture Eats Projects for Breakfast

MBA students learn that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” a famous quote from management guru Peter Drucker. Here’s a pop quiz: Does your culture have rigid vertical reporting structures a.k.a. silos? Yes(0), No(1) Does your culture have cross functional teams working on projects? Yes(1), No (0) Does your culture have decision making frameworks spanning departments? … Read more

We’ll Ask for Estimates and then Treat Them as Deadlines

When can you deliver this project? Before you answer that question, ask a few questions yourself: is there a sponsor? has the budget been approved? solution designed? vendor selected? What you’re trying to communicate by asking a few questions is: A project sponsor is critical to success; Without a budget, you can’t start, and that … Read more

Program Manager: Operations or Projects?

The role of Program Manager exists in many organizations but there is some ambiguity around whether this is an operational-type role or a project-based role. What is the difference? In my experience, operational Program Managers are more widespread than project-based ones. There is no end date to operational programs. The Program Manager is expected to … Read more

What is the value add of a project manager?

The value add of a project manager tends to be missed if you do a good job and everything goes smoothly. If a project was a one-year international road trip, the project manager: Maps out the entire journey Foresees problems along the way e.g. forest fires resulting in road closures, bad weather necessitating slower speeds, … Read more

How many failures before Edison gets fired today?

In many project management offices, the term “smart failure” is shunned. It’s not smart to be associated with any project or initiative with even a hint of failure. Thomas Edison begs to differ: On progressive elaboration, iterative development, and lessons learnt:• Results! Why, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things … Read more