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A Musing on Successful Project Management
By Pawel Brodzinski

Evaluating the work of a Project Manager is usually quite easy: A project is either finished or not; the final acceptance protocol is signed or not; and both the budget and the time have been significantly overrun or not.

Some project managers strive for success, as described above, by any means. They do their job, but also strictly expect everyone else do theirs: They have high expectations from the team and the client. If project management was a race, they’d be the first on the finish line. Does that mean they’re the best role models for entry level Project Managers?

Maybe not. The things they lost, somewhere on the road to achieve the success, are relations (both internally and externally). Such people are definitely not popular. Most of them say: “I don’t need to be liked by everybody. I’m here to do the job”, and they harm (usually not so much, but still) the chemistry in the team.

Their relations with the clients can be also severely affected. In bigger projects, even after the final acceptance, there will be change requests, new features, bug submissions, etc… There will be a lot of discussions on how to address different issues: “Should the bug only be mended with some bubble gum and some string or rather a full-blown patch should be delivered? Can’t we just forget this little, unused feature which was added to the agreement by some person? Oh, maybe we can adjust support agreement terms a bit?” You’ll need good relations in those situations. You’ll need them much more when you plan to sell another solution to the same customer. Maybe having one project a bit more “successful” isn’t worth a risk?

Successful Project Management is about getting the project done, but it is also about leaving an atmosphere where everyone wants to make another project with you, your team, and your company.

Pawel’s experience in software development covers a bunch of positions in both rank and file and management roles. He worked in quality assurance, software development, design, support and implementation teams. He also managed different teams from small group of testers up to ERP system development department. While spending most of his career working on enterprise and carrier grade systems, he did play some roles in micro-ISVs. He’s currently the Chief Operating Officer in Wind Mobile (www.windmobile.pl). Pawel’s blog can be found at: blog.brodzinski.com.

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