Discussion 1 – Project Managers
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Discussion Topic The topic is project management. Please click to read this article about the com/article/3294701/project-managers-need-to-be-warriors-not-bookkeepers-or-your-projects-are-doomed.html”> role of project managers .
· What are your thoughts on the two types of project manager, as proposed by the writer? Do you think one is more effective than the other – and why?
· Next, using outside research, identify the top 3 skills you feel a project manager should possess, and why. Provide at least 2 outside references to support your stance, aside from your textbook.
· If you are (or were) a project manager, what is (or would) be the most difficult skill for you? (When you respond to peers, please make suggestions to them about overcoming issues surrounding this skill).
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Sandy Le –
The two types of project manager’s that Jim Haskin discusses are bookkeepers and warriors. The bookkeeper is a program manager who documents and reports everything from the start to end of the project. The warrior is someone who gets things done no matter what. Based on Jim Haskins discussion, he has only worked with 10% of warriors (2018). I would conclude that a warrior is more effective than a bookkeeper. Yes, a bookkeeper can document everything and report it to the executives, but the warrior does that and then some. Bookkeepers like to do as they are told only and warriors take control and do what is necessary to achieve their goals. I’m not actually sure if I have ever met a warrior before but I sure would like to become one. I believe the process is important but the overall goal is more important. It’s the difference between success and failure. Of course, every team and project manager wants to achieve success but not everyone can because there’s always uncertainty and it’s up to the project manager who should have the warrior mentality to do what needs to be done to reach that success.
The top three skills a project manager should have include leadership, communication, and scheduling. According to Nathalie Udo and Sonja Koppenseiner, having leadership is someone who can provide direction, resolve conflicts, and make appropriate decisions. (2004). Leadership is important as a project manager because they must have a vision and strive to achieve their goals. Sharlett Gillard states that soft skills, specifically communication, has been a recurring skill that makes a project manager successful (2009). Without this skill, the project manager would fail to also negotiate which entails communication in persuasion. Communication is also a large part of success on a project as the project manager must interact with all stakeholders involved. Scheduling is important to drive the timeline of the project. Making sure that stakeholders such as suppliers have materials and resources available when needed, construction team completes their tasks in a timely manner, and sponsors are satisfied (Landau, 2019).
If I were a project manager I think the most difficult skill would be leadership. I know this is the most important skill a project manager should have, but there’s different types of leaderships. I would identify my leadership style as transactional, which focuses on achieving a goal and giving consequences after. I personally believe that I have failed as a leader in my past work because I am not a confrontational person. People thought of my leadership style as demanding and confrontational but I saw myself as a guiding person and results driven. A leader should know how to communicate to dissolve conflicts and I just accepted it.
Gillard, S. (2009). Soft skills and technical expertise of effective project managers. Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, 6, 723+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A229896160/AONE?u=lom_walshcoll&sid=AONE&xid=3337948e
Haskin, J. (2018). Project managers need to warriors, not bookkeepers-or your projects are doomed. CIO. https://www.cio.com/article/3294701/project-managers-need-to-be-warriors-not-bookkeepers-or-your-projects-are-doomed.ht
Landau, P. (2019).12 Essential Project Management Skills. Project Manager. https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/project-management-skills
Udo, N. & Koppensteiner, S. (2004). What are the core competencies of a successful project manager? Project Management Institute. https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/core-competencies-successful-skill-manager-8426
The types of project managers are bookkeepers and warriors. The bookkeeper PM is focused more on the reports that could or could not stall the project timeline. The warrior is more focused on the completion of the project (Haskin, 2018). I have worked with both types of project managers and I found that the warrior project is the most effective one. When working with the warrior type PM I noticed a couple actions that the PM took to manage issues that arrived to keep the project on schedule. On this particular project, the foundation of the building was poured wrong because the engineers stake the site wrong. This mistake is a costly one which would have run over the budget but the PM moved money within the budget to make sure the project remained on track. The end result was the project finished 250K under the projected budget with staking error. The PM knew that they couldn’t control that error but adjusted and looked for other ways to reduce cost while maintaining the project schedule.
The top three skills that project managers should have is leadership, project planning and problem-solving. Leadership is an important skill set to have because it outlines and defines the main vision of the project. During the duration of the project the PM will motivate and encourage each team member to achieve the scheduled deadline (Schiff, 2017). The project planning is important because it includes scheduling timelines, resources plans, and budget estimates. Project planning is critical to a successful project because it outlines important steps and tasks that must be completed in a timely manner (Aston, 2020). Problem-solving is a skill set that all PMs must have because no project goes smoothly without a couple interrupts. This included identifying risk or unexpected problems that have occurred. The PM will have to mitigate the risk before it becomes worse (Schiff, 2017). From previous work experience, I have noticed a lot of PM’s deal with problems as they come and don’t take actions to resolve the problem before it happens.
One of the most difficult skills to conquer would be risk management if I was a PM. When starting a project how do you know a risk is apparent. They are not easily definable until you encounter a risk within the project. Each project is different with different risks associated with each individual project. I know there are tools that analyze risk management but they don’t always identify the potential risks within the project.
Aston, B. 2020. 21 Key Skills For Your Project Management Resume in 2020. DPM. Retrieved from https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/project-management-skills/
Haskin, J. 2018. Project managers need to warriors, not bookkeepers-or your projects are doomed. CIO. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3294701/project-managers-need-to-be-warriors-not-bookkeepers-or-your-projects-are-doomed.ht
Schiff, J. 2017. 7 must-have project management skills. CIO. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/2389129/project-management-7-must-have-project-management-skills-for-it-pros.html
The article I chose was “How Project Managers Can Manage Teams Productivity Remotely” This article goes over how technology is allowing more and more project leaders to work from home or remotely. One part of this article that really spoke to me and my personal experience was the section about time and resource management. This article says that construction companies have been shifting in this remote working direction since before COVID19. “Managers can use construction software to layout the time and material needs for tasks, and to ensure equipment is in the right place at the right time.” (John, 2021). I have seen this technology is my previous work place at Amazon in all of their fulfillment centers. Amazon utilizes technology like this to track their employees wherever they are throughout the building so that they can keep track of everyone’s productivity on the production floor. This is beneficial as it creates a sense of self awareness. If an employee knows they’re productivity I being tracked and analyzed they are less likely to be off task. Another section that I liked and can relate to is the paragraph about project Management Software. This section goes on to say how construction companies can utilize this software to effectively communicate to everyone on the worksite. Amazon and my current company use this form of virtual communication by sending announcements and messages to either everyone or individuals. This helps effectively get coaching and short messages across very well. The article wraps up by stating “Technology has made the gradual transition for remote project management easier. With COVID and the overall inefficiencies of in person travel for project management, many more companies will have as few people as possible on site and discover just how smooth and efficient management can be for people who already wear plenty of hats.” (John, 2021). I encourage anyone who is interested in the benefits of remote leadership and guidance to give this article a read. John, M. (2021, January 11). How Project Managers Can Manage Teams Productivity Remo. Retrieved January 12, 2021, from https://activerain.com/blogsview/5602020/how-project-managers-can-manage-teams-productivity-remotely
One article I found interesting was titled 10 traits of highly effective project managers, written by Moria Alexander, which details how managers need to invest in the organization to succeed in fulfilling company goals. She explains that managers need to understand the importance of their projects and how their project fits in the organization’s goals, stakeholder needs are as important as families or personal hardships, and project managers need to know how to motivate to promote confidence. Moreover, Moria goes on to say that managers should share credit for a job well done, fully invest in the success of your project, and maintain accountability and integrity. Some of the last points in the article deal with maintaining effective communication, trying your best to be fair and respected, being able to adapt as things change, and navigating the internal and external pressures of a business. One important part of the article I found interesting was when she said it is important to be a skilled motivator. If you communicate your ideas with confidence and clarity and demonstrate respect, the workers will feel respected and confident. Another great point made in the article deals with integrity and accountability. Whenever there is a problem, the project manager is always blamed however it is important to understand when you are wrong and mistakes are going to be made. This article is important to me because as I was reading the article I felt as if I exhibited most of these traits. These traits take years to develop and there is always something new to learn, so it is important that those in charge understand and apply these traits. com/article/2433916/project-management-six-attributes-of-successful-project-managers.html#tk.rss_software”>https://www.cio.com/article/2433916/project-management-six-attributes-of-successful-project-managers.html#tk.rss_software
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I am interested by the thoughts of the writer, Jim Haskin. I feel that perhaps there are even more than just two types of project managers, but I appreciate his bookkeeper and warrior approach. I have to agree with the author and say that a warrior is a more effective project manager than a bookkeeper is. A bookkeeping type project manager spends most of his/her time tracking details and progress rather than leading the time to the desired outcome. The warrior, however, truly pushes his/her team to accomplish goals in a certain timeframe. In terms of truly completing a task on time and correctly, someone who is able to lead a group and pushes for excellence (a warrior) will have a lot more success than someone who just keeps track of the progress, successes, and failures (a bookkeeper).
There are many skills a project manager should possess, but the top 3 skills every project manager needs are communication, leadership, and time management skills. Probably the most important skill out of these three is communication. A project manager needs to communicate goals, tasks, and decisions quickly and with enough detail so that the team can understand. According to Landau, project managers not only need to communicate with members of their specific team, but they also need to communicate effectively with others affected by the project such as customers, other employees, and so forth (2019). Communication occurs so often, so it is imperative to a project manager’s success. Another skill that a project manager must have is leadership. Without strong respect and understanding of the team members, it can be hard to accomplish difficult tasks. Landau also says that leadership requires motivating and mediating (2019). With different personalities and needs in place, a project manager needs to show strong leadership in order to keep the project moving according to plan. Finally, a project manager also needs strong time management skills. Planning is a huge component of project management and failure to plan can ruin a project entirely. Changing the goals of a project can account for 35% of project failures and no planned goals account for 30% (Joubert, 2019). In other words, failure to plan is a plan to fail.
In my future as a project manager, the most difficult skill for me will be to communicate. I am someone who is extremely focused on my own tasks and can forget to make sure everyone else is on task as well. In addition, I have problems with assuming that information is shared or if I understand something, everyone else will as well. However, this is just not the case. In order to be a successful project manager, I will need to work on communicating more effectively with my team. Not only will communication help me become a better project manager, but it will help me in all aspects of life as well.
Joubert, S. (2019, August 12). 7 Essential Skills for Project Manager. Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/essential-project-management-skills/
Landau, P. (2019, November 14). 12 Essential Project Management SkillsP. Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/project-management-skills
What are your thoughts on the two types of project manager, as proposed by the writer? Do you think one is more effective than the other – and why? Haskin’s take on the two types of project managers was eye-opening. I had not considered different types of project managers, only those that were successful and unsuccessful at project management. However, upon finishing the article I’ve concluded the stark difference is in the scope of the project manager. The Warrior project manager takes on a broader, more holistic approach. Conversely, the Bookkeeper project manager becomes engrossed in the details of the project management Gantt chart which doesn’t allow them to successfully manage the other aspects of the project to meet the overall objective.
As the spearhead of the project and ultimately the one responsible for the project’s success, it is more effective to be the warrior type of project manager as the bookkeeper type could be delegated to another member of the team. Additionally, the Warrior project manager takes a proactive approach, while the Bookkeeper project manager is reactive.
Next, using outside research, identify the top 3 skills you feel a project manager should possess, and why. In a majority of articles I found, the most popular responses for successful project management includes both communication and leadership (Schiff, 2017). However, I proffer that a third important element is left out of a majority of these articles: adaptability. Adaptability is a critical component of project management that is often overlooked. Most project managers are focused on the duration and deadlines of various phases in the project itself. Yet, inevitably one aspect of the project is derailed and gets off track. Without the skill of adaptability, it is easy for a project manager to focus on what has gone wrong as it relates the Gantt chart and overall schedule of the project. When the focus becomes the Gantt chart rather than the objective itself, the success of the project becomes jeopardized (Haskin, 2018). In Haskin’s example of the rolling six-month plan, the timetable is long enough to plan out several months, but also short enough to allow both the manager and the plan to pivot and reposition as necessary. Adaptability allows for built-in flexibility.
Project Management is a coordinated effort which is why communication is a fundamental skill. In many aspects of business, communication is referred to as a vital skill and is considered to be 90% of project management (Benz, 2020). Yet, more often than not, the specifics of communication are not discussed. How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. Simply notifying team members via CC is the bare minimum and not enough to effectively communicate. Rather, regular check-ins and discussing expectations and deadlines contribute to more through communication. It is better to over communicate rather than to assume or imply as that is where miscommunication can take root and derail a project.
Lastly, leadership is the third vital skill. Although leadership and management are sometimes used interchangeably, the outcome is drastically different. While a manager is one that has the formal title and responsibility for the project, a leader is one who can inspire and motivate the team. As a project manager, it is possible to be responsible for the outcome, yet exhibit not leadership throughout the process (Bookkeeper project manager).
If you are a project manager, what is the most difficult skill for you? In general, I am detail-oriented person. As a project manager, I am prone to being the Bookkeeper project manager that tends to “see the trees rather than the forest” so to speak. While I’ve been able to see the big-picture and overall objective, I easily can get off track “into the weeds” of details. It’s an ongoing process, but I’ve been working towards taking a more holistic approach throughout the duration of a project.
Benz, M. (2020). “The most desirable project management skills in 2020”. Forecast.com
Haskin, J. (2018). “Project managers need to be warriors, not bookkeepers – or your projects are doomed”. CIO.com
Schiff, J. L. (2017). “7 must-have project management skills”. CIO.com