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

Getting Things Done

Gary R. Heerkens, in his book Project Management, strongly agrees with Sue Young. He says:

"The art of project management relates to the fact that projects are really about people getting things done. Project management requires a keen knowledge of human behavior and the ability to skillfully apply appropriate interpersonal skills."[15]

In the Journal of American Academy of Business, Sharlett Gillard writes: "According to industry research firm Gartner, poor project manager competency accounts for the bulk - 60 percent - of project failures due in part to the complexity of the management role in product development." Gillard goes on to add this statement, "In essence, project management authority is a combination of the legitimate authority and personal influence exercised by the project manager."[16]

In Gillard's view, personal influence is of critical importance in getting things done. Nevertheless, some in the industry have raised the one-dimensional argument that only good training and experience in the scientific methods are necessary for efficient project management. Clearly, this ignores the critical human element.

If people are the root cause of project failure, then it follows that people must be at the heart of the solution for project success. This excerpt from the soon-to-be-published book, Global Project Management: Competencies, Skills, and Culture, by Dr. Al Zeitoun, PMP, with the International Institute for Learning, illustrates this point:

"The artistic side of the project manager as a leader is what allows project managers to be who they could best be. Projects do not succeed in creating the wow for customers and society only because the best technology was used; they succeed because the collaboration of minds towards a well-defined objective took place as directed by proper leadership. It is that side of the project manager that makes the miracle happen"[17]

In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the world-famous leadership-skills mentor John C. Maxwell emphasizes, "Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.[18] And Eric Verzuh, author of The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, describes a project manager this way: "There is no question that the best project managers are also outstanding leaders. They have vision, they motivate, they bring people together and, most of all, they accomplish great things."[19]

Reasons for Failure  Reasons for Failure

15. Heerkens, Gary R, Project Management, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 2002
16. Gillard, Sharlett, IT Project Management: A Conceptual View, Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, July 2004, p. 381 (Accessed 7/30/04)
17. Zeitoun, Al, PhD, The Leader Side of the Project Manager, allPM Today Newsletter, July 2004 (Accessed 3/29/05)
18. Maxwell, John C, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, 1998
19. Verzuh, Eric, The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999
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