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How Much Power We Actually Have As Project Managers?
By Eric Veal

Being the boss is fun. But it’s rare. Sometimes we might think we’re the boss but very frequently we are not. Being a customer is probably the closest we can come to being a boss: “the customer is always right”. I would really like to achieve this level of control on my projects where the buck stops at my desk and what I say goes. But this rarely works.

We should shrink our organizations. We should centralize more decision-making authority and shrink our work cycles. But this doesn’t often work because sometimes we really do require input and authorization on projects from a very large collection of stakeholders.

So it might be true that “my requirements are what I say they are” but at the aggregate and at the project manager’s level, they are rolling up and what the project manager says or thinks really doesn’t fly. The project manager really is just a facilitator and adviser to a larger, far more political, process.

So be careful project managers, although you may feel like you may have god-like powers and feel in control, you’re still reporting to your board and you’re still accountable to your customers, stakeholders, and stockholders. Tread lightly and don’t abuse the power.

Eric Veal, MS, MBA, PMP is a managing member at Efficitrends, a company specialized in evaluating, improving, and automating business processes. Eric has 15 years of experience planning, selling, building, applying, and supporting commercial and custom IT solutions for Fortune 500 and smaller firms. You can read more from Eric on his blog.

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