Project Management by the Numbers – A Recipe For Disaster


Greetings Leaders!

If you’ve been managing projects for a while, you know there are many ways to manage them. While that may seem intuitive to many of you, there are less seasoned “professionals” who think that there is just one way to manage projects and that would be “by the numbers”. When I interview someone for a Senior Project Manager position,  nothing gets me to a thumbs down quicker, than someone who thinks project management is all about process. Don’t get me wrong, process is important, in fact very important, but someone who thinks that it is the panacea to managing projects is showing their lack of maturity as a project manager.

If you find yourself disagreeing with me, consider that even the Project Management Institute promotes a more holistic approach to managing projects in the Project Management Body of Knowledge. PMI states that project management is a combination of Skills, Knowledge and Tools. If you place “process” or “by the numbers” in the Knowledge category, that still leaves you with two-thirds of the puzzle to solve. Process, while important, will only get you one-third of where you want to be, which is to manage projects or project portfolios effectively.

How can you recognize if you are to focused on process? Simple. Look at how you are managing (or are being asked to manage) a project. Here are some key indicators that suggest you may need to expand your philosophy surrounding project management:

  • The focus is on producing reports instead of communication
  • It takes longer to create the Charter than to do the work
  • There are redundant layers of Reviewers and Approvers
  • More than 10% of your time is focused on paperwork
  • Your promotion is based on how well you followed the process
  • Your spend more time managing your schedule, than managing the work or your team

If you find that many of the statements above hold true for you, sit back and ask yourself how successful is your project execution. Can you expand what you’re doing to take a more holistic approach to managing projects?

All the best!
All the time!

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