Tom Kendrick is no stranger to these pages. In 2006 we reviewed his book The
Project Management Tool Kit a very useful reference book and a couple
of years later he has written the current book. The title is beguiling because
many project managers, especially those new to the discipline, feel burdened by
the responsibility of producing Results without Authority. The subtitle
poses a good question: How do you control a project when the team
does not report (directly) to you?
Notwithstanding Tom's years of experience with Hewlett Packard, we suspect
that the question is somewhat overstated. "Your" team may not report to you in
the traditional sense of the corporate hierarchical organization chart in which
you have line responsibility for the care and keeping of your staff including
salary and employment. However, you do have a responsibility for conducting productive
work - upon which their continued employment depends!
If you are not sure about that, call your first project team meeting and see
who shows up. Those who don't, without even an abject apology, are clearly not
a part of your team. For those who do show up, assuming you exercise an appropriate
degree of finesse, will be committed. Of course, if no one shows up, your project
is probably not worth doing in the first place and you know where you stand.
As Tom explains:
"When you're a project manager with a team of people who don't technically
report to you, your challenge is to get results Without Authority. This book delivers
proven techniques for controlling projects and managing diverse teams in a wide
variety of situations, and bringing those projects to a successful closure. The
concepts in this book are essential for all project managers, with or without
authority, because they offer a productive alternative to "command and control"
management techniques that can easily backfire."
It goes without saying that you, yourself, must be thoroughly convinced of
the righteousness of your project's outcome and can make an impassioned case for
Much as we have felt on numerous occasions that we would like to pound our
fist on the table and tell someone to "Get on with it. Don't argue and do as you
are told." We have equally learned that while this does satisfy the pounder, it
produces no results other than flat resentment. By the same token, we rather wish
that Tom had not placed so much emphasis on the word "controlling". In this present
day of enlightenment, and knowledge workers, the concept of "command and control"
is long outmoded. You don't control a project, you lead it!
Yes, yes, we know that the latest PMBOK® Guide is rife with the word "control"
(just check out the index) but you
will notice that the references are to systems control - the control of things.
The word is carefully avoided in the Project Human Resource Management chapter.
There the operative word is "manage".
T., A Project Manager's Guide, Results without Authority, AMACOM, New York,
2006, back cover
2. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®
Guide) - Fourth Edition, Project Management Institute, 2008, Table of Contents