Friday, October 07, 2016

What Makes a Good Project Manager

The good project managers I have known have tended to be subtle, responsive and had a good knowledge of what was happening on their projects. The poor ones tend to rely on methods and techniques to try and stay on top of their projects and they have usually struggled.  

I am a great believer in the effective learning cycle. This is an iterative process that suggests we learn best if we go through four stages of the cycle: plan something, do it, reflect on how it worked and then draw conclusions from it about what we will do next time. On a project this works at the task level, the stage level and the project level. It's why we do reviews and document the lessons learned.

The Way  
Reflection helps us to see how things happen. When we reflect we are grounded in the infinite. The wise project manager is considerate and does harm to no one. He is courteous and knows how to yield gracefully. He is open and receptive and can clarify things for others, because he has been there himself. The wise project manager is not trying to be enlightened, because he is enlightened

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:

The ancient masters were subtle and profound.  
The depth of their knowledge was unfathomable.  
There is no way to describe it,  
All we can do is describe their appearance.  

Careful like men crossing a winter stream.  
Wary like men aware of danger.  
Honest like uncarved blocks of wood.  
Open like a valley.  

Can you wait patiently,  
Until the mud settles and the water is clear?  
Can you remain still,  
Until the right action arises by itself?  

The sage does not seek fulfilment.  
Not seeking, not expecting,  
He can welcome everything.  

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