Is a Project Manager just a bean counter?

Bean Counters

Geetings Leaders…

I am amazed at the different perspectives that executives have about project managers (PMs). I recently heard an executive say that a good PM can manage any project. Do you agree? I used to think this was true but now realize that the answer, “it depends”, is more appropriate. When I was younger, a lot younger, I thought I could do anything. Give me a project and I’ll run it! Well, now as an experienced PM, I believe in just the opposite. A good PM can’t manage any project. Why is this important? Consider that organizations bring in consultants as PMs, often without experience in their industry, or their company. This is a recipe for disaster if not handled correctly.

If a PM is a bean counter, then yes, I would agree that a good PM can manage any project. But, as a bean counter, a PM is a very expensive resource. It would be much cheaper to hire someone in their mid twenties if all you wanted them to do was track status and hunt down late deliverables. You really don’t need a PM for that. So if you’re hiring a PM at let’s say $100,000 per year on salary or $250/hour as a consultant, just to count beans, you’re throwing money down the drain.

The true value of a Project Manager, is having someone with enough experience in your industry and with your company, to know how to ask the right questions to keep the project on track. A PM who can uncover real problems before they surface is worth their weight in gold. In fact, if your projects are in the million dollar range, getting a PM at $100,000. that could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars by asking the right questions, is a bargain and you’d be foolish not to have one.

A parting note. If you are a PM, and all you do is create project deliverables and track status, what value are you really adding? Couldn’t someone with a lot less experience do that just as well, perhaps even better?

All the best!

All the time!
JT

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