There are probably as many ways to screw up complex problems as there are project managers running them. Possible Roots of the Problem. If you don’t implement these phases, you are a bad project manager and when the project fails, you most likely don’t even know why it fails. Trying to deliver a project without an engaged sponsor is like starting a voyage on a ship without a captain, crew, lifeboat or even a planned route. As the project manager, you must use what was learned from prior experiences to identify symptoms that lead to the looming bottlenecks that spell disastrous outcomes. Instead, everyone is aimless. I am interested in Mintzberg’s work because he has examined the nature and essence of management – or managing, as he likes to call it. When there is a lack of trust, teams slow to a grinding halt. The screenshot to the right (click to enlarge) is a diagram offered by the PMBOK that shows a simple project lifecycle and the processes (steps) involved. Even if the goals are defined, no one, including the project manager, seems to focus on them. Some time ago, I started reading Henry Mintzberg’s book Managing (Berrett Kohler, San Francisco, CA, 2009). February 22, 2012, The 9 Warning Signs of Bad Project Management Henry Mintzberg’s writings are usually thought provoking and I have found that his 1987 HBR paper “Crafting Strategy” provides many insights into the way business actually works. 7 Things I Learned About Project Management, Smartsheet Software Review: Overview – Features – Pricing, Wrike Software Review: Overview – Features – Pricing, Top 7 Best Task Management Software & Tools in 2020, Simple Guide To Choose a Project Management Software. This took the edge off the otherwise too inane to be endured run of the mill MBA classes. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers up the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), now in its 4th Edition for a reason. I now tutor on the final module of the same MBA programme that I studied and Mintzberg’s “Managers not MBAs” is one of the key starting points for the module. If … I concur with virtually all of your comments, in particular, the need to balance the art, science and craft of management, “book” knowledge needs to be tempered by experience as you say. To become such a manager, better still a “leader” who gets to sit on top of everyone else, you must first sit for two years in a business school. The data for such decision making comes from brief convenient packages of words and numbers, called cases in school and reports in practice. A project is often the outcome of a crisis scenario that requires people … To ask questions and draw out answers from developers and analysts. I worked with my program counselor to create a study program that suited me. Therefore, I wanted to capture the list and use it as a baseline indicator, as warning signals for bad management values, attitudes and practices. Effective managers follow a set of behaviors that inspire loyalty and success. The implementation is, however, no easy matter, because while the managers who have been to business school embrace change, many of those human resources who haven’t resist it. He has experience in SAP, IT Governance, procurement, system selection and integration, and peformance and process improvements. You can read more from Preben on his blog, you can follow him on Twitter, and you can contact him via LinkedIn. At the “top“ sits the chief executive who is the corporation (even if he or she only arrived yesterday). But if Dave and Marcy are bad project managers, you’ll see the signs over and over, even on fresh, well-funded projects with plenty of high-level backing. Implementation is important because it is about taking of action, which managers must control, but never do. You're not, however, doomed from the get-go if you embrace the right mindset—one that sets your project … Unfortunately much [project]management is based on poor, inappropriate or superficial thinking. The goals are vague or nonexistent. I have seen first hand the havoc such attitudes can wreak because I have followed in their wake to help clean up the mess. In the meantime, I also picked up his predecessor opus called Managers not MBAs (Berrett Kohler, San Francisco, CA, 2004), which contains a lot of the foundational material developed further in Managing. That said, as we know, and we know this definitively, schools can teach a lot of knowledge and some skill, but typically provide no experience. In my case, I had a very clear agenda for my studies and signs of a bad project manager had a thesis already... 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