What is the sex (gender) of the angels?


Good morning y’ll (you all)

Today, I decided to write with a bit of sarcasm and maybe a bit of humor, if I can manage it.

In Arabic, we have a colloquial statement that goes like this “نختلف على جنس الملئكة” meaning we debate (argue is a better word) on the gender of the angels. This colloquial is used when people get engaged – debate, sometimes, semantics.

In project management – since it is not more of applied domain than scientific – we debate everything. We can go on endless debates on topics like:

  • Is it project life span or project life cycle?
  • Is it a phase or a stage?
  • Is it a task or a project?
  • Is it a project or a program?
  • Is it a portfolio or multiple projects?
  • Are the process groups phases or they repeat in every phase?
  • Is the PMP valuable or not?
  • Does PM certification ensure success?
  • My favorite “how many hours do i need to study for the exam?”

And numerous other topics.

This is like comparing N. American English to British English:

  • Is it a Boot or a Trunk?
  • Is is condom or rubber?
  • Is it a … …

SupermanThis reminds me of the old superman movies when people see a flying object they start to scream “it’s a plane, it’s a bird; no it is Supermen.”

Some of these – maybe the consequence and outcome are really semantic; like the items in the first two bullets above. Others, have indirect, and often direct impact on project performance since the management approach might need to be different.

Nothing wrong with debate, however, the funny thing (actually sad) is the online discussions on LinkedIn on topics like these. It is often that someone post a question, with very little information. The information provided cannot lead to an answer, yet it is amazing how many people jumps and start answering. Opinions range all over the place and sometimes the answers have nothing to do with the subject. Again – nothing wrong with debates; however to answer a question we need enough information. Without the proper and relevant information – we are wasting our time debating endlessly.

The point here is not the annoyance of ASSUME = ASS | U | ME (meaning: do not assume because it makes an ass of you and me). The point is how often professionals, even senior professionals, can jump to conclusions and go on so little information. In the work environment, this is a waste of time and destructive because it deliver the wrong outcome.

This topic reminds me of something that was posted online once. The post asked, “would you jump off an airplane?” Of course, tens, if not hundreds of people, start answering until someone wake up and answers “it depends, is the airplane on the ground?”

Happy debating!

Once again – what is the sex of angels?

Once again – what is the sex of angels?

This entry was posted in Project Management, Project Management Humor and tagged , on by .

About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.