Scope of Project Management in Today's Business and Technical Environment
The generic four-phase project life cycle suggests that the project management
process is both linear in logic and mechanistic in application. While this may
be true to some extent, the real world of project management is very different
because work is accomplished by people and people respond to communication. Nothing
happens without one or the other, and with today's educated work force particular
attention must be paid to these elements of project leadership.
Indeed, the definition of leadership, especially project leadership, is itself
an issue. Given the difference between 'Planning' and 'Producing' described earlier,
and the differences generally ascribed to leaders and managers it may be deduced
that project planning requires 'leadership', while project production requires
'managership', see Table 2: Differences in Style.
But this switch in style is not the only challenge. Project management is full
of such paradoxes. Tom Peters, management guru, identifies seven further such
paradoxes in mastering project management. These include exposing ego versus
no ego; autocrat versus delegator; ambiguity versus perfection; oral versus written;
complexity versus simplicity; forest versus trees; impatience versus patience.
He might have added internal versus external focus, and so on. However, this
kind of hodge podge approach to understanding project management is not very
Managers focus on
Leaders focus on
- Goals and objectives
- Telling how and when
- Shorter range
- Organization and structure
- Bottom line
- Selling what and why
- Longer range
- Top line
Good managers do the
Good leaders do the
Sources: Adapted from Warren Bennis On Becoming a Leader,
Addison Wesley, 1989; J. W. McLean & William Weitzel Leadership, Magic
or Method?, AMACOM, 1991; Stephen R. Covey Principle-Centered Leadership,
Summit Books, 1991.
Table 2: Differences in Style
From the point of view of learning, a more structured compartmentalization
has been suggested to describe the full scope of project management. Five primary
elements have been broadly mapped as follows.
The Project Environment: This sets the context of the project.
It includes accommodating to the external environment into which the product
of the project will be launched, whether that is simply the management culture
and support services of the parent organization, or the greater environment beyond.
On a large complex project the latter could require a major 'public relations'
type effort. Internally, it includes accommodating to the technology vested in
the project and the four constraining and interlocked project objectives of 'scope',
'quality', 'time', and 'cost'.
The Project Life Cycle: As noted earlier, a generic sequence
of phases is inherent in the definition of 'project'. It, and all the intricacies
associated with specific areas of project application, provides a logical and
progressive basis for learning about project management.
Project Integration: This covers ministering to the people responsible
for the component parts of the project and their correct interfacing. It includes
'team building' and the issues of 'temporary teamwork', 'project production and
productivity', and dealing with 'uncertainty, opportunity and risk'. Above all,
it relies heavily on the need for reliable 'information, data storage and retrieval'.
Project Processes: This is inherent in both 'project' and 'management'
and includes the essential processes of 'justifying', 'setting direction' and
'management control'. It also provides an opportunity to describe appropriate
applications of project management, its benefits and its pitfalls.
Priorities for Project Success: This flows from satisfying the
project's stakeholders and constituents and provides the motivation (driver)
for effective project management in the first place. It includes learning from
past experience and identifying measurable project success indicators. It is
also closely associated with effective communication and the total long-term
value of the resulting product. These are the issues that are remembered long
after the limited euphoria experienced in simply meeting objectives of time and
T., Liberation Management, Knopf, New York, NY, 1992, pp 212-214.
3. Wideman, R. M., Criteria for a Project Management
Body of Knowledge, International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 13, No.
2, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd., UK, 1995, pp 71-75.