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"THE LIGHTER SIDE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT"

PROJECT MANAGEMENT CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE (VIDEO)

MATHEW CONGRATULATING THE OVERSEES FILIPINO CIVIL ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION (OFCEA) AT THEIR 10TH ANNUAL MEET IN ABU DHABI, UAE.
[Mathew@PM4K]

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: STAIRWAY TO COMPETENCE

"Although I'm not sure about what the scope of the project would be, but I'm sure I want the project to be completed within 1 month for less than $2 million (when actually it would take at least 6 months and not less than $10 million)". Ever come across a project sponsor with such project deadline/requirement?? Bet most of you must be saying "That’s Business as Usual".

In today's competitive world, most of the project professionals are faced with the challenge of working in and/or with organizations that, although, do not understand even the basics of Project Management, expect its projects to progress without any time delays and cost overruns as per an infinite wish list that sponsors claim to be the project scope. Ask these sponsors for ideas of how to achieve the impossible, and they'll throw the "Nothing is Impossible" optimism on your face. Although some may agree with it, but Mathew would like to add to it and say, "Nothing is Impossible; especially for the person who doesn't have to do it". Don’t get Mathew wrong, he believes "Where there is a Will, there is a Way", but ask your sponsor to lead the way and bang comes the response, "Don’t ask me. I’m supposed to make my demands and you’re supposed to have the Will to figure out the Way”.
Challenges exist in all professions; however, the ones faced in the profession of Project Management can drive you off the cliff. But who said Project Management was for the feeble-hearted? As Project Management Professionals, our outlook should be to overcome all such challenges and yet achieve the agreed project targets. Thus, it becomes crucial for us to analyze the Project Management Competence of the organization in which we would be managing a project and then apply the ‘Horses For Courses’ rule to it. It’s like they say, "If you want to get somewhere, start by realizing where you are" and this forms the very foundation of what Mathew calls the “PROJECT MANAGEMENT: STAIRWAY TO COMPETENCE”.
According to Tom Hopkins (world-famous sales trainer), the 4 levels of competence (originated from Maslow's work) are as follows:
1. UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE (Don’t Know That We Don’t Know)
2. CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE (Know That We Don’t Know)
3. CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE (Know That We Know)
4. UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE (Don’t Know That We Know)
Stairway to PM Competence_AMM BLOG

STAGE 1 - UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE: At this stage, the organizations understanding of Project Management is like Mathew's understanding of driving was, when he was a kid. Riding at the backseat of a car; with the wind on his face; enjoying the view; when all the while not realizing his inability/incompetence to drive a car. The phrase 'Ignorance is Bliss' should be the official punch line for this 1st stage. Organizations in this stage are UNCONSCIOUS (or ignorant) about its Project Management INCOMPETENCE. At this level organizations think Project Management is nothing but secretarial work and 'Project Manager' is a title given to glorified secretaries. Being absolutely LOST and UNAWARE of the subject matter, to a level of not even appreciating Project Management, are signs of organizations being in this 1st stage of Project Management Competence.
STAGE 2 - CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE: At this stage, organizations are like Mathew used to be when he hit his teenage, where his urge to impress girls (come on…we have all been there, done that) made him realize his incompetence in driving a car and thus started his eagerness to learn to drive a car. The 1st step to knowledge is the realization that 'we don’t know everything' (refer to Mathew’s post titled 3-STEP CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE). As they say, "the 1st step is always the hardest step to take". The willingness of the organization to take that hardest 1st step proves that they are in this 2nd stage because they become CONSCIOUS about their Project Management INCOMPETENCE. A sudden urge to become AWARE (for whatever reason) and a willingness to start SEARCHING for ways to gain Project Management Competence are signs of organizations being in this 2nd stage of Project Management Competence.
STAGE 3 - CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE: At this stage, organizations are like how Mathew's mother is while driving. Seated on the edge of the driving seat; head almost popping out of the windscreen; always conscious and extremely careful to ensure safe & competent driving. Although the 1st step to knowledge starts at the 2nd stage of competence, majority of time in achieving Project Management Mastery is spent in this 3rd stage. Project Management, like Quality Management, is a Culture. It’s not a kitchen appliance that can be heard-off one fine day; bought off-the-shelf from the market the other day and be expected to immediately work effectively in any situation. Organizations in this 3rd stage CONSCIOUSly start applying Project Management Practices to achieve the desired project objectives and as a result start to gain Project Management COMPETENCE. The LEARNING & application process being in full-throttle and the organization's increasing AWAREness about Project Management Practices are signs of organizations being in this 3rd stage of Project Management Competence.
STAGE 4 - UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE: At this stage, organizations are like Mathew is while driving nowadays. Having breakfast; speaking on the phone; sipping coffee; chatting with the fellow passenger; sometimes even getting ready for work and yet, unconsciously, able to steer the car safely to its destination (Warning: do not multi-task while driving. It could lead to fatal accidents). 'Only Practice Makes Perfect'. The practice that comes from the conscious application in the 3rd stage leads to perfection (Mastery) in Project Management in this 4th stage of 'Unconscious Competence'. At this stage, organizations have practiced Project Management for so long that they become UNCONSCIOUS about the COMPETENCE they have built in the field of Project Management. In other words, Project Management becomes second nature as a result of the dominant Project Management culture prevailing within the organization. Although the learning process never stops, the organization shows signs of being in this 4th stage of Project Management Competence when they have LEARNED all about Project Management and are totally AWARE about the subject matter even though it’s at an unconscious level.
As they say, excess of everything is bad. Once Project Management becomes second nature, it becomes a vicious circle that you can find hard to get out off. If you realize that in your personal life you are…
  • imposing a time schedule to the time your wife spends at the beauty parlor (assuming you have enough 'wife management' skills to do that) and/or
  • holding your son's pocket money to a cost baseline (because you know there's no way you can impose that restriction to your wife's expenses) and/or
  • expecting the dinner table to be served with the agreed scope each meal, (assuming you're lucky enough to have a wife who can cook and does cook)
…then it’s time to take a break from Project Management and go on a vacation. The only irony being; to plan the vacation well, you'll have to fall back on your second nature i.e. Project Management Competence.
[Mathew@PM4K]

A FOOL WITH A TOOL IS STILL A FOOL

Here at PM4K we take great pride and interest in busting project management related myths. In continuation with this tradition, in this post we would like to discuss a misconception out there that believes Project Management is all about learning some fancy PM related software. There are also some that believe being a PM software wiz is synonymous with being a great Project Manager. These myths are as far away from reality as far George W Bush is from becoming the president of US again! Understanding the core basics is the only way for one to succeed in this tough and ever changing world of Project Management and fortunately or unfortunately, there is no alternative to this! PM software and tools come & go, but the strong fundaments of project management will help any Project Manager to cope up with the ever evolving world of technology that supports the profession of project management. 

Having made the above point it is important to point out that, just like Batman is handicap without his Batmobile (to a large extent); a good project manager can consider himself/herself deserted without a tool that helps him/her in managing the project effectively. Without his Batmobile, Batman is good, but with it he’s unbeatable. Similarly, a project manager with strong fundamentals without a PM software can be useful, however the same project manager with an effective PM software can be invincible.

This is where we start talking about Project Management software and its importance in field of Project Management. To get to this discussion, let’s 1st try to understand what is a Project Management software & what all can it be expected to do. Wikipedia defines a Project Management Software as “a term covering many types of software, including estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, collaboration software, communication, quality management and documentation or administrative systems, which are used to deal with the complexity of large projects”. So the big question is, should an organization spend endless time in trying to identify one software for each of the requirements stated above or should they be smart about it and just identify one software that handles it all. The obvious answer is easier to identify than the solution itself, which is to find a one-stop-shop software that does it all! 

Although a PM software can make life easier for project managers and any organization (for that matter), however, expecting it to replace a Project Manager will be like replacing a bulb with an oval object & expecting it to shine. Just won’t work! It’s better for all Project Managers reading this post to start with strengthening their Project Management Basics and then consider moving on to taking their fundamentals to the next level with an effective software because we should never forget that ‘A FOOL WITH A TOOL, IS STILL A FOOL’.


[Mathew@PM4K]

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ASSOCIATED CONTENT: PM BASICS- DECUPLE CONSTRAINTS

07 Decuple Constraints (Advanced)
 
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INDEX: BEST OF PM4K

27. PM BASICS 007: DECUPLE CONSTRAINTS [POST @ PM4K]

26. PM BASICS 006: SEXTUPLE CONSTRAINTS [POST @ PM4K]

25. PM BASICS 005: PROJECT TRIPLE CONSTRAINTS [POST @ PM4K]

24. UN PROJECT MANAGER UN Superhéroe [POST @ PM4K]

23. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (006) [POST @ PM4K]

22. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (005) [POST @ PM4K]

21. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (004) [POST @ PM4K]

20. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (003) [POST @ PM4K]

19. SWEET DREAMS BUSINESS ANALYSTS [POST @ PM4K]

18. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (002) [POST @ PM4K]

17. TRAITS OF A 'HALO EFFECT' PROJECT MANAGER (001) [POST @ PM4K]

16. PM BASICS 004: WHAT IS PROJECT MANAGEMENT? [POST @ PM4K]

15. PM BASICS 003: WHY DO PROJECTS? [POST @ PM4K]

14. TOP #1 CAUSE OF PROJECT FAILURE [DISCUSSION @ PM4K]

13. PM BASICS 002: PROJECT vs OPERATIONS [POST @ PM4K]

12. PM BASICS 001: WHAT IS A PROJECT? [POST @ PM4K]

11. IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT LOGIC = LOYALTY [POST @ PM4K]

10. PROJECT MANAGEMENT - TWO TO TANGO [POST @ PM4K]

09. TOP #1 QUALITY OF A PROJECT MANAGER [DISCUSSION @ PM4K]

08. ARREST THAT SCOPE CREEP [POST @ PM4K]

07. BEWARE OF FRIENDS IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT [POST @ PM4K]

06. A PROJECT MANAGER IS A SUPER-HERO!!! [POST @ PM4K]

05. PROJECT MANAGEMENT IS NOT A FREEDOM STRUGGLE [POST @ PM4K]

04. PROJECT MANAGEMENT: STAIRWAY TO COMPETENCE [POST @ PM4K]

03. PROJECT MANAGEMENT CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE [VIDEO @ PM4K]

02. SECRET RECIPE TO SUCCESSFUL PROJECT MANAGEMENT [POST @ PM4K]

01. PROJECT MANAGEMENT: 3-STEP CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE [POST @ PM4K]



[Mathew@PM4K]

 
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