Should you ask one of these “fantastic” questions?

Based on the success of the last post and some of the comments, we decide to continue with our Project Management Satire :).  This post is about some of the ‘silly’ project management questions that we see online and how these questions reflects negatively on the dynamic field of project management.

What is project management?We realize this is not about humor and jokes but it is about being sarcastic with some of the questions that are posted online in project management forums and reflect the lack of knowledge and experience, if not saying ignorance of the posters.

We realize – that some will disagree with our views and we respect that – let us discuss the counter-views.

We also realize some will be offended – and we cannot help that, however, we do ask to read and understand before you criticize or take offense.

Please note –

  • If someone that does not know anything about project management and post an honest clarification question (to learn), we will respect that and will not include here. These are people seeking help and support and deserve our respect.
  • However, there are some questions posted by project managers, project management professionals, including those who have certifications or seeking one. These people raise questions – that often a beginner should not raise and reflect their ignorance and incompetence. Those are the subject of this live post.

This post is a live post and we will be updated with new questions.

The Past

  1. First, let us have fun with terminology … this is indirectly related to our topic. Refer back to our very first post.
  2. Our last post – that put some common questions.

The New Posts

The following is the live section.

Q1

Can a project manager design/decide solution?

This question has received a great deal of discussions on one of the LinkedIn group a few months ago but it was not closed. So a few days ago many more responses are starting to appear.

For those who do not understand project management or the role of the project manager, will see this as an honest question and perfectly acceptable. Well this question come from the reality of what project management has arrived to. It came from the many professionals and even PMPs who have never managed a project and work as technical leads – which results in confusing the role of project manager from the role of technical people. This question by itself deserve a blog post. For reference, we did write before about the role of the PM.

I like one answer that was posted to the above question on LinkedIn “The question is akin to asking: Can a PM speed on his way to work?” 

Q2

What is the single most important quality for a PM to have?

In general – it is a good question to ask about qualities of project manager … notice the plural. However, our issue is with these types of questions about “the single most important quality”. This is like someone saying – I do not have time to learn so just spoon feed me only one quality of a PM.

I know – I know – someone will say but people will answer with different qualities and indirectly we get the various qualities of PM. True – but is this what the poster is looking for? Why the focus on single quality.

You decide!

Q3

Which certification should I take next PMI-RMP or Six Sigma Green Belt?

This question is on a Facebook group. I know that the intent of this question is good and it would be a good question if someone is asking for a brief overview of these two certificates. The challenge here is this person is asking for advice and we have no idea who he is, what is his background, he career path, his view of the future, among other factors. Further, these are two different certifications and each could serve a different purpose.

Q4

I like one document – a real life project – where all 47 processes [PMBOK] are applied with templates, inputs, tools, outputs … ?

Anyone in this group is willing to share their insider – company information? The challenge with this question and the comments posted is that

  • These individuals believe that these processes are theoretical and are not real life.
  • On any substantial project there will not be one document that shows all of the above.
  • In organizations – input is something we consider and tool is something we use – so real professionals are not going to produce a document that says – this is a WBS … it is an output of the Create WBS process, we used the scope statement as an input, and we used MindManager or WBS Pro as the tool to draw it.

Q5 [1]

“I was in marketing and now I want to be a project manager. I just got my PMP. Why won’t anyone hire me as a project manager?” 

This question has more than one issue/point …

  • The first: notice the contradiction “i want to be a project manager. I just got the PMP ——— how did this person get the PMP without experience.
  • The second: if this person cannot get a job as a project manager – it is because he/she does not have PM experience; yet there are many online posts that brags on how the PMP is almost the only criteria for a job.

Q6 [1]

This is related to the previous question: “Which would you hire, a PMP or an experienced PM?” 

No comment!

Closing Comment

As mentioned earlier – this will be a live post where we will add other comments like the above. In general, there is nothing wrong with seeking information, like “can anyone explain what is PMI-RMP is, its benefits, advantages, uses, etc.” then sort through the kaleidoscope of opinions. The challenging – annoying part – is people seeking advice that no one can give them except a person close to them – a mentor. Further, these people are seeking professional certifications – yet they cannot seek the info from online search or from the organizations that offer these certifications.

Ouch!

[1] Question from Kelly Kaufmann, PMO Manager, Project Manager – from an online response to original post – added with her permission. The comments are Mounir Ajam