New Perspective of Project Manager Required Knowledge Areas – Part II

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New Perspective of Project Manager Required Knowledge Areas – Part II

"There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision." William James

This post is part II of a previously discussed subject regarding new perspective of project manager required knowledge areas. Those series of posts highlights more skills and knowledge areas that need to be mastered by project managers rather than famous one mentioned by PMI.

In this post, we discuss a few set of additional skills for efficient project manager. Collective skills mentioned in this series are like a glue that should stick other hard skills mentioned in PMI knowledge areas. They form the secret mix that gives the differentiated flavour between one project manager and another.

The Art of Decision Making

Decision making process is utilized in every aspect of our lives. We can consider ourselves as beings taking decisions in every moment. Taking the right decision is an art and a science that makes one person more successful than another one. This is heavily evident in project management. People make decisions based on two basic approaches: Singular evaluation and comparative evaluation. Singular evaluation, the first valid option is selected based on very short and concise criterion. This approach is used in emergency cases where there is no enough time to explore other alternatives. Comparative evaluation, considers several alternatives that evaluated against each other before deciding. Use pros cons list with uniform or different weight to evaluate options.

One point is worth to be mentioned here. Availability of data does not make project manager take a decision. Data is like a flashlight helps to see what is around you but they do not make decisions on your behalf. Past decisions and experience help a lot of taking future decisions. It is easily to misinterpret data! Asking questions about available data, knowing the difference between precision and accuracy of data, and understanding statistics are all means that help project manager interpret data properly.

Correcting What goes wrong

It is common within any project course that things go wrong such as behind schedule, low resources, low quality, personnel issues, etc. PMI mentioned corrective actions, but it never elaborate upon methods and techniques used to devise those corrective actions.

The first step to corrective actions is to take responsibility. Taking responsibility does not mean that, it is your mistake. It simply means that you will take necessary actions to resolve the emerging issues and being accountable for consequences. The second step is to make a damage control strategy. You can call for a meeting for everybody. You can find a point of agreement for everyone, if conflicts are everywhere. Pilots and captains are trained for damage-control situations. They are isolating problem from symptoms and this is the real skill for any project manager to learn and master.

You can refer to a nice book called The Art of Project Management. You can share more skills required for project managers and comment on above-mentioned points.

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Comments (2)

  • usamashamma Reply

    I see that the most critical skills that the project manager should have is being a leader.

    The leader is a person who has a vision, this vision enables him from achieving goals and tackle issue that no one else sees or simply no one else want to tackle it. The vision is not enough however what makes leaders different is that they act, They take the steps to achieve their vision.

    In my life I met people born with these characteristics, However on the other hand I met a lot of others develop themselfes and be leaders.

    I see that the most skills leaders should have are:
    – Move people to work toward the goal the he has chosen
    – Is positive not wasting time and effort telling every one what wrong they did.
    – Knows how to push the right buttons on everyone to make them really want to do their best to achieve his goal
    – Uses a high level plan to keep everyone moving together toward the goal.

    If you have a project manager and leader at the same time, be sure that you will have a extremly succesfull project.

    January 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm
    • Mohamed Abdel Moneim Reply

      this is a very nice comment. Actually the subject of leadership is very interesting. ‘How to make a leader’ is another mysterious question that science is struggling to answer. But I agree with you that hard work (acting) + vision could create a leader.

      January 16, 2011 at 5:49 am

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