This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright M. Klein (2005).
Published here June 2005.

Introduction | Shortage of IT Experts? | There's More
Reasons for Failure | Getting Things Done | Balancing Art with Science

Balancing Art with Science

Knowledge of scientific methods and processes is essential, coupled with a technical knowledge of the essence of the project itself. Yet just as important is a firm understanding of the social psychology of human resources. Indeed, the project manager must use clear and effective communication to influence the organizational powers, those that must be involved to overcome obstacles and enable the project to be successful. Then the project manager must share the vision/strategies to energize the project team.

Political and interpersonal skills are needed to work with teammates at various organizational levels and from diverse backgrounds, often with conflicting agendas. Moreover, the experience to make decisions when only incomplete information is available, and knowing when to delegate, are vitally important. This is the fulcrum on which a good project manager strikes his or her balance. It is indeed this skillful and purposeful balancing act that makes or breaks a project and its manager. A great project manager is a great leader.

George Nassef, CIO at, was asked in a 2001 interview what competencies he deemed most important in a project manager, and he replied, "I'd choose technology and behavior. In order to motivate IT workers, you need an understanding of the challenges they face, in addition to an understanding of human behavior and how to motivate teams."[20]

Most people understand intuitively that a doctor cannot be completely successful if he treats only the disease yet ignores the emotional component of his patient. Conversely, neither can every patient be cured with warm emotions alone.

In the same way, complete success will come only to those who combine the requisite technical skills in methods and processes with artful leadership to motivate their team, lead them to the achievement of goals, and maintain active support and involvement from key participants. Talented project leadership, not just technical wizardry, will guide people to overcome obstacles and ensure business and financial victory.

Getting Things Done  Getting Things Done

20. Brandel, Mary., The Perfect Project Manager, Computerworld, August 2001 (accessed 7/16/04)
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