Preserving the Wonder in Project Management

Sometimes we simply don't know why one new product team performs and the next one does not. In the end, the factors that contribute to project success are sometimes difficult to trace. We wonder about what actually happened in a successful new product enterprise so we can replicate it, but we often cannot capture the invisible elixir. While we strive to reduce the project management process to disciplined procedures, systematic analysis, and structured control, the more we learn about the project management process, the more we see that in the end quality projects are produced by people working in the dynamic and sometimes mysterious environment of human enterprise. The human factor—as unpredictable as it is—remains the key determinant of project success. All the planning and scheduling in the world cannot motivate and inspire people to perform and work together with a customer. In the end, we continue to be amazed when collaborative human enterprise is able to produce complex quality outcomes together that could not be designed and assembled by any one person. In a sense, we respect the wonder and mysteriousness of the process while at the same time we try to plan, predict, and control it.

This is why successful projects are usually associated with leaders, people at every level in the organization who provide purpose and create the environment in which people find meaning in their learning and work. A leader can balance the use of tools and techniques with the wisdom of wonder and the appreciation that many of the factors of success lie in the hands of the people doing the work. This is the challenge to women and minorities—and any aspiring profes-sional—who enter the project management field. Sometimes it makes sense to simply respect the wonder of team success, let people work out their issues, and "muddle through" without trying to understand why and how work gets done.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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