Published here May 2008.


DBM & Personality Types: A Supplementary Explanation

A recent visitor to our site posed a question concerning The Dynamic Baseline Model for Project Management posited by Authors Mark E. Seely and Quang P. Dong in their paper of that title.

On 4/7/08, James O. wrote:

How is [the DBM] model related to personality type and project leadership?

Author Mark Seely responded:

I think the best way to answer your question is as follows: each of the project levels requires a different focus on leadership and with that a different personality type of both the leader and the participants.

Level 1 is a highly defined, highly prescriptive, environment - an exercise in refining practices as in being on an assembly line in a process management setting. Hence the personality appropriate to this "regulation" of work would be a line supervisor - as in an assembly line supervisor.

Level 2 is in a custom environment, the starting point for project management. Here we need people that can work in an environment that has highly predictable defining parameters. Hence the personality appropriate to this is an "organizer" as is appropriate to many construction project work sites. Abilities and interests in rigid templates and frameworks is key such as schedule, work breakdown structures etc.

Level 3 is custom but in an unfamiliar environment - as is often the case with speculative developmental technology projects. Examples here include defense countermeasure related projects, NASA and similar. In this environment, people are strategists, but grounded in pragmatism to make the necessary trade-offs to achieve objectives. In essence conflict and continuous risk management will be central to their challenge and their success will be based on the ability to "stay in the game". High affinity for risk, a high stress tolerance and a good sense of gamesmanship are important.

Level 4 is the first level of governance requiring project participants to have a high affinity for ambiguity. At Level 4, the good organizers of Level 2 have a place within, however, from a leadership perspective, their normal sense to "control" needs to give way to a requirement to navigate by a higher principle - they need to form part of an "optimization-of-objectives" network, where their value-added proposition is continually adjusting in conformance with the will of others. A good sense of, and experience with, diplomacy is key. While there is also a place for Level 3 in a Level 4 environment, Level 3's are not necessarily groomed or selected for their "diplomacy" in the pursuit of networked objectives.

Level 5 is similar to 4 but at a higher (usually international) scale where participants are following the optimization of a diversity of principles and cultures on their path to a solution.

Hope this helps.


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