PM Jack of All Trades

What is the ONE thing you need to manage projects? There is not one!

In a recent article, we discussed if the project manager the jack-of-all-trades and the master of NONE. That discussion was due to the numerous online discussions and even publications by “leading” project management associations that cannot make up their mind on what the role of the project manager is.

PM Jack of All TradesToday’s discussion builds on this last article and add other annoying behaviors we see in online discussion. I am using a direct approach, which might not be politically correct, which is fine with me since my aim is to help raise awareness rather than sugar-coat things.

The Situation

There are numerous discussions online that asks and wants to debate questions like these:

  1. What is the one skill that the project manager should have?
  2. What is the one tool that a project manager must depend on?
  3. What do we need more leadership or management?
  4. What will affect the project more fast tracking or crashing?
  5. How many hours or months should I study for the exam – PMP or others?
  6. What should I score on the simulation exam to ensure success?
  7. Is this a project or a program?
  8. Which is better agile or waterfall?
  9. Which is better agile or scrum?

Some of these questions (and others) are legitimate questions – the problem is we cannot answer them scientifically nor logically without knowing the situation.

Let us take question 5 for example. How can anyone answer the question without knowing the person asking, their comprehension abilities, intelligence, experience, project management experience, and many other factors? Will the person asking be willing to commit one hour a week or 10? Does the person have PM experience or not? We can go on and on.

A Sad Reality

The irony is that some of those answering (some not all) do not even know the difference between things.

The sad part is that many of these questions are being asked by those who deliver training. If a project management “trainer” does not know the basics how are they leading classes? If they know, they are not sharing their opinions, or the results, which makes it a waste of time for those who really care.

Closing Remarks

As we already stated, many of these questions are not scientific and can never a scientific or at least logical answer since many of them “depends”. Yes, depends is the magic word in project management since the field of project management is highly dynamic and situational. What work in one situation will not work in another.

It is really – interesting to see – sad in a way – to often find discussions trying to find one reason – one fault – one tool – one skill to help us manage projects.

Projects are about:

  • methods
  • set of processes
  • using many tools and techniques
  • requiring various variable skills by a different set of people to deliver projects.

Let us move away from the concept that the PM is the HERO and is the only person on the team and that does everything from strategic planning to cleaning the office.

happy READING!