April 14, 2008 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Musings
This document is fifth in a series about the Seven Deadly Project Sins.
In this narrative, I will continue to focus on some of the “soft-elements” of the project, some temptations that the project manager needs to be on the lookout for in order to foster success on the project.
The Seven Deadly Project Sins as I have defined them are:
- Project Envy
- Resource Gluttony
- Project Lust
- Over-allocation of Resources
- Best Practice Sloth
The fifth Deadly Project Sin – Personalization can affect your ability to accomplish projects as a project manager.
On the Internet at www.wikipedia.com you can view this definition of personalization:
“Personalization (or personalisation) is tailoring a consumer product, electronic or written medium to a user based on personal details or characteristics they provide.”
Project Personalization involves tailoring the project to your personal desires or outcomes. Project personalization can also refer to the project manager feeling an extreme ownership of the project and taking events on the project as a personal affront.
How does Personalization happen?
Project Managers are always required to be responsible for the outcome of the project. Many times, project managers are encouraged to closely control projects by tying their annual performance raises and bonuses directly to projects. And, as we all know, what can be more personal than money? It is almost a natural outcome of these events that causes a project manager to personalize the project – or to begin to think of the project as “his (or hers)”. When asked to change something on the project, the project manager may resist based on ownership perceptions.
I would presume that you know someone in your organization that has “gone nuts” and become overly protective of their project! I have to confess that I have fallen into this category upon occasion. As I am writing this I can think of several times where I fussed at stakeholders about messing up “my” project. I know I have used a communications presentation upon occasion that refers to “my” project.
In reality, the project manager must understand their role and value to the project. The value of the project manager is that of being the integrator, the communicator, the controller for the project. Re-stated, the project manager is a tool that is used to ensure an acceptable outcome. If the tool meets the specifications and is useful in fulfilling the need that the tool was designed for, then the tool is used again and again. If the tool is not useful and does not fulfill the role that it was intended for – the tool is usually left in the tool box to gather dust (or worse – the tool is discarded or sold in a garage sale).
Accepting ownership for the project, being responsible for the project, being accountable for successes and failures on the project are all admirable traits in a leader and in a project manager. Personalization of the project, the elements, how the project is accomplished, the tools used, the reporting structure and outputs is usually not a positive event. In some cases where the enterprise methodology is weak or non-existent, the project manager may be asked to personalize the project in order to ensure the outcomes. But more likely, personalization of the project serves only the project manager’s needs; not the needs of the company, the needs of the project and the needs of the stakeholders.
This article was first published as a series of articles from August 2007 through February 2008 entitled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Project Management”. This series of articles were published as “Project Management Tips” on PM World Today and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
The author, Tim Bergmann, is Chief Learning Officer for True Solutions Inc. in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Bergmann is a highly qualified project manager with three decades of experience managing a wide variety of information technology projects. Mr. Bergmann’s experience includes project management, operations management, infrastructure planning and implementation, business continuity planning, customer service and business development.
In 2006 he co-authored the best selling “CISA Study Guide” marketed by Sybex. Mr. Bergmann’s credentials include Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) and Disaster Recovery Institute’s Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP).
Mr. Bergmann has seen a progressive management career with several Dallas-based companies such as Compass Computer Service, Zale Corporation, Chief Auto Parts and B. R. Blackmarr/BrightStar Technology Group. His most recent engagement prior to joining TSI was as Director of Education for another D-FW based training company where he developed multiple course content and delivered project management and business continuity training.
As a consultant, he has worked with several Fortune 100 companies in a project management role. Mr. Bergmann has performed premier projects for the world’s largest auto manufacturer, a leading global insurance and investment provider, a regional power generation company, the world’s largest specialty jewelry retailer and a Dallas based transaction network and financial services provider.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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