Pulling a stagecoach with chickens
I just read a great post that describes some of the challenges that face project managers. The basic premise is that it’s almost impossible to control a project because there are just too many people making too many decisions, but don’t give up hope the article provides a coping strategy.
The analogy used is trying to pull a stage coach with chickens – really great. Here’s an extract, but please read the whole thing!
The reason project managers can’t manage projects is because projects are unmanageable. The project manager’s responsibilities, as written, describe a fool’s mission. Provably unachievable.
The few who succeed resolve this eternal dilemma by more fully acknowledging it. They accept that, while their project is unmanageable, it might be capable of controlling itself. Not, however, by management command and pseudo control, but through conversation. I believe that most every project is capable of learning how to control itself, and that every element, every contributor, has something to provide to that conversation. Even, especially, the chickens.
The project managers who can’t create successful results don’t acknowledge that their projects are unmanageable. This acknowledgement could take them out of the driver’s seat and open the possibility for surprising, even delightful results. The alternative seems to be a stagecoach that eternally intends to, but rarely actually does, arrive on time, on budget, and on spec.