But she was a damn good project manager.
Today’s post is on project management with 2 thoughts:
- How to manage our projects without our favourite presentation tool?
- And we should have more women as project managers.
I write this blog, because my daily job is about managing people and projects, often in complex IT environments. And a large part of the day we are making, or reading, presentations to communicate. So today some thoughts how this might be done differently. And some Dilbert pictures to highlight my thoughts.
My mum raised 4 kids. Perfectly multi tasking, no PowerPoint, and also no Excel and no Microsoft Project. No Workbench Breakdown Structure. No Prince-2. Just simple lists and clear rules.
Looking to todays Project Management, we are over-informed by methodologies, such as Prince-2, PMI or other. If we take a look in Wikipedia on this, we can see that the methodologies improved over the year, focusing on better planning, executing and communicating. With lots of tools. MS Project first, then copy into Excel to check it, and then use PowerPoint to explain our messages to our business colleagues, and to our management.
So what is the problem in this ? PowerPoint rules the world I would say. I think it is all about simplifying the message, having common objectives (never easy in matrix organisations), and clear communication. A small note: I am a big supporter of adding marketing people in IT organisations to ensure that all well thorough thought ideas and solutions are being translated into some screens and processes that normal human beings can understand. But this aside.
So it is important to communicate on objectives and results, and explain how to do things in a simple way. So how can we do this without our tools ? Sorry, but I do not have the magic solution yet
However, it is always good to have a look how other businesses, products or people work. As an example, I am not sure that winning football teams have to fill in time sheets, or get a 64-page PowerPoint presentation. Same for F1 drivers. Even birds, flying to the south (or north ?) every year. Without presentation tools. It is about leadership, charisma and understanding the job well.
In the new technology world, we could think more on sharing information via our phones, watches, and other tweets. Or the good old Post-It’s ? Or via interactive gaming? It will be a change …
So, coming back to my mother. She was really (and still is) multi-tasking, and raised 4 sons having each a strong opinion on things. And the result was there, without PowerPoint :-).
By the way, in my current role, I have the luck to work with several good female project managers. In many ways, they are much better than me. Better feeling for personal things, better socialising, and really capable of doing multiple things at the same time. While we, as men, have to focus on how to do things right, our female colleagues do have this as a basic feature (to speak in IT terms).
My thought here is that we should have more female Project Managers in our organisations compared to today. And by the way, generally spoken in IT. In IT, we try to translate our business needs into solutions. And without feelings, and keeping things simple, and a good personal approach this might never really work. And women are just often better in these things than men.
But also without our favourite tools ? I am not sure yet: it will probably still take a while before we can say goodbye to our “old-school” tools and methodologies.
But I am convinced we will change one day: my mother managed all her life without those tools …
Take care, and please take a few minutes to smile when watching Dilbert’s Project Managers Video’s on YouTube.