O'Reilly logo

The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

1.6. Pressure and distraction

One fear of those new to project management is that success requires change. New projects are created with the intent to change the state of the world by modifying, building, or destroying something. Maintaining the status quo—unless that's the explicit goal, for some strange reason—is not a successful outcome. The world is changing all the time and if a web site or other project is not as good today as it was last year, it generally means that it's fallen behind because the goals were misguided or the execution of the project failed in some way.

It's hard to ignore the underlying pressure this implies for project managers, but it comes with the territory. Don't just sit there; make it better. There is always a new way to think, a new topic to learn and apply, or a new process that makes work more fun or more effective. Perhaps this is a responsibility more akin to leadership than to management, but the distinction between the two is subtle. No matter how much you try to separate them, managing well requires leadership skills, and leading well requires management skills. Anyone involved in project management will be responsible for some of both, no matter what her job description says.

But getting back to the issue of pressure, I've seen many managers who shy away from leadership moments (e.g., any moment where the team/project needs someone to take decisive action) and retreat to tracking the efforts of others instead of facilitating or even participating ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required