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Posts Tagged ‘Executive’

Do you ever feel that many Executives do not fully understand what Project Managers do?  They think the Project Manager and the Resource Manager have the same skill set?  Granted, that some characteristics of these jobs do overlap.  Both require good communication skills, the ability to build relationships in the organization, and the know-how to get things done.  But there are also some very distinct differences.  Resource Managers, by definition, manage the resources directly.  The resources work for them and as their boss, control their day-to-day activities.  Project Managers must try to manage a body of work with resources that do not work for them and have no control over their priorities.  This brings us to another difference, priorities.  The Project Manager’s (PM) main objective is to get the scope of the project completed within the timeline expected without compromising quality.  This objective is very defined and becomes their number one priority.  The PM gets rewarded for moving fast and checking things off the list.  The Resource Manager’s (RM) objective is much different.  Since they often own the support of a product once it is implemented, this project adds work onto their already busy plate.  Some RM’s may even resist a projects progress because of this fact.  At the very least, they want to ensure that the product is stable and supportable.  After all, it is their team that will be up in the middle of the night supporting a problem application after the PM has moved onto another project.  The RM is motivated by quality and this project may not be a top priority because their priorities change daily.  They are also managing support problems and maintenance tasks.  So there you have it, the PM focusing on schedule, the RM focusing on quality.  The PM must drive things forward with a single purpose, plan for every possible risk, and methodically overcome obstacles as they arise.  The RM must juggle constant issues that arise, react to the changing direction of the products they support, and respond to staffing problems like turnover and sick time.  These are very different jobs that require different backgrounds and skill sets.  To lump them together is an insult to both.  All levels of an organization need to be educated as to the nature of Project Management and what the job entails.  Only then can they give the PM’s the support they need to be successful.

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Why does it seem like the answer to an organizations problems is always a reorganization of the staff? Granted that there are times when a company needs to change the structure of their staff to better align with business requiremenets or customer needs, but I’ve been in an organization that restructured every year for four years in a row. You have to keep in mind that a reorg only changes the reporting structure. It is worth very little unless something much more critical is addressed as well, responsibilities. Most reorgs I have witnessed address the org orgchartchart and give a high level description of the groups new vision, then expect the lower level managers to fill in the details. The problem is that there is generally no continuity when this happens. Each well meaning managers interprets their new vision as they see fit and takes on responsibilities that he wants. This often leaves gaps between the groups and disagreements on ownership of issues. It is imperative that the executives that defined the vision of each group stay enagaged in the detailed definition of each groups role to ensure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. I believe that Executives underestimate their contribution and influence in changing times and too much communication is probably just right.

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