The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word MANAGEMENT

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Program and Project Management > Best Practices > The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word MANAGEMENT

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word MANAGEMENT
Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP, Project Manager, France, Moderator
In my opinion the most important thing in project management that many people overlook is in the word MANAGEMENT. Of all the difficulties you face,
- Project methods and tools are useful in project management to organize, to plan, to follow-up, to report but they represent no more than 30% of your challenges as a project manager.
- The other 70% concern the management of the project team, integrating the project into the overall management of the firm, the management of the stakeholders, and of course the management of the client relationship.

The Hardest Thing In Project Management: Managing Cross-functional Activities
Linda Juspandi
I totally agree. However, management of cross functional activities is the hardest thing and are often missed...
For example, security requirements (physical & electronic) often come from the client security department and not the accommodation property group. If it does come from the property is a matter of them forwarding the brief directly to us.
The thing is that some of the reqs are actually in conflict with one another...but unless we go through them in fine combs...we won't know. It is so time consuming (in particular with door schedules etc etc)...
Anybody ever experienced this too...??

Why Projects Fail: Project Definition and Resources, ...
David Dicanot, Analyst, France, Member
Hi, I share the fact management is a main part of a project success.
I would ask you what is the percentage of projects which failed or delayed because of the management?
I think the main reasons of project failure are inaccurate definition of objectives, the pressure of business to get all in the shortest time and bad load evaluation.
The management will help to save a project or help to lead the project but root causes are in the project definition and resources choice.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: Motivating the Teams
I too agree. Most of the time (at least 70% of the time), the project manager is fully exhausted with the internal challenges of the project team.
In the case of large projects or medium sized projects, the challenge is motivating the teams across. In many industries the most valuable resources are the people. If the people are not really motivated enough and they are not really participative in the whole project cycle, the chances of becoming success are feeble.

What's Most Important in Project Management? Managing the People
Xolani Nxanga
The common thread I have picked up is that the most difficult part of any project is managing the people involved. This I believe is the area that project managers need to spend their time on.
In order to get the desired results, the project manager needs to get commitment from the stakeholders to solve a particular problem.
Projects are about solving complex problems. The project manager needs to simplify what may appear as a complex problem. The project manager needs to ensure (manage) that normal communication between stakeholders is turned into intelligent conversations where the objectives are clear to all and all conversations are well-planned and the context is well-defined.

There is No Most Important Thing About Project Management...
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
Management (to be effective) requires authority commensurate to the responsibility. At least in most owner companies, (as opposed to contractors) there is plenty of responsibility but rarely is there formal authority to match that responsibility.
Having said that, because project management is a system, and a system is synergistic - is greater than the sum of its parts, there can be no single "most important" component or element. A system is only as strong as the weakest link, whatever that may be.

The Weakest Link in Project Management is the Unexpected
Marcelo Charlin
@Paul D Giammalvo: I agree with you Paul. I would add that in my view the weakest link can be an unexpected event, a scenario which should have been considered as a possible, albeit undesirable, outcome or side effect at any given phase. And I don't mean by it that the planning wasn't accurate, it may simply be that you did not know which or what was your weakest link until you faced it, unexpectedly. i.o.w. no plan is 100% accurate and you find that out on the field, when managing the implementation of the plan (project), despite all the care you took in every other dimension, including managing the team.
Nicholas Taleb calls them Black Swans.

The Most Important Thing is Project Management with Conviction
The most important thing is project management with conviction. At times for managing a project we write the system, guidelines and way of working, but at times all these things don't work and we lose heart and put the blame on some else.
Then what matters is the conviction to deliver the project and get things working again. He or she may be someone with a leadership position, or even a team member.

What's Most Important in Project Management: Stakeholder Analysis
Sukru MINDAS, Project Manager, France, Member
@Xolani Nxanga : I agree with you when you say that the most difficult is managing the people involved, and for to get results we need to get commitment from stakeholders.
So if we as a project manager are looking for commitment, we need to a stakeholder analysis and find the various interests or advantages that each stakeholder has in the project, even if that takes time.
My experience learnt me that if there is no advantage (financial, responsibility, best work conditions...) for a stakeholder, he will not really involve in your project.

What's Most Important in Project Management? Continuously Managing the People
Hector Rodriguez, Analyst, Paraguay, Member
@Xolani Nxanga : I agree that in most cases managing the people that are involved is the key element to achieve the project objectives and goals.
We should consider that people (stakeholders) are changing their position continuously. So we must continuously control and adapt the map of involved people. If we don't, we are likely to miss our objectives.

What's Most Important in Project Management - Leadership
Ted Garrison, Management Consultant, United States, Member
Leadership is the key. Leadership in project management is not about control, but the ability to perceive the existing conditions (understand the existing conditions) then allocate the resources, both human and capital, in the most effective way.
Key part of perception is understanding or defining the issues or project outcome. In essence, managers do things right, leaders do the right thing and make sure they have the people that know how do the right things correctly.

What's Most Important in Project Management
afolabi adeosun
I could not agree more. Soft skills are an important ingredient in project management. Without the ability to successfully coarse, influence or manage teams and stakeholders to deliver the objectives, there would be no linkages to overall strategy which is the ultimate goal.

Most Important in Project Management? The Project Scope
M Swain, Consultant, United States, Member
@David Dicanot : I agree project definition (the scope) is most important in project management. Elements of the project scope go beyond definition alone and include:
1. Obtaining the scope (requirements of goals) from stakeholders
2. Getting sufficient resources (money, time, commitment, experience, skill)
3. Getting the team to 'focus' on delivery (interim milestones, quality definition and assessment)
4. Delimiting and measuring risk (do the resources and requirements match-up)
5. Communicating these scope issues to all concerned.
It's the community's clarity of 'scope' which will lead to success or cutting-losses. So in my opinion, lack of clarity of project scope is the biggest risk of failure.

Most Important in Program and Project Management are the People
Leodegardo M. Pruna, Professor, Philippines, Member
I beg to disagree that management is the most important thing in project management. Management could be static if taken as a noun but dynamic if considered a process.
Anyway, the most important element in project management is: people. People who know how to do the right things and do things right.
Their willingness to commit and engage in the work at hand, utilizing the available resources efficiently, is key.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management is MANAGEMENT
MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff, Business Consultant, Brazil, Member
@Leodegardo M. Pruna : I partially agree withyour disagreement. Nevertheless, placing the right people, performing people's and projects follow ups, drawing challenges, setting goals, etc... will be taken care of by persons...
And all that and even more is just the exercise of MANAGEMENT like a true practitioner.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: Managing Relationships
Makhosandile Ndzuzo, Director, South Africa, Member
@Xolani Nxanga : Performance of work necessarily involves the management of relationships - be it between people, people and systems, systems and processes, processes and structures, performance management itself, etc.
It is all about relationships! This is an essential competence to have in any work environment, but certainly in managing projects

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word MANAGEMENT
Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP, Project Manager, France, Moderator
@David Dicanot: all what you said is right David, but don't you think project definition and choice of resources are typical management issues?

Managing Cross-functional Activities is Part of Management
Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP, Project Manager, France, Moderator
@Linda Juspandi: you are perfectly right Linda in saying that managing cross-functional activities is a particularly hard job.
Project management is based on management by objectives and responsibility delegation.
To succeed in the internal organization requires a strong matrix of project organization and project management culture. Both are a matter of management.

Most Important Thing in Project Management: MANAGING the People
Elizabeth Elikem Addae, Student (University), Ghana, Member
@Leodegardo M. Pruna : I agree with you that the most important resources are the people.
Managing the people is critical to get the best out of them:
- There is the need to first of all motivate the people, make way for communication, assign a responsibility to each individual using their competence araes.
- Then exercise authority, but not to condemn or critisise their views. Adopt the style of "we feeling".

Important in Project Management: (Managing the) Communication
Dirk Schleef
In the beginning of project management, but also in any other phase, there must be project communication:
- With everyone who might be affected in one or more aspects (stakeholders).
- With everyone who will take part in a project.
- With everyone who can't take part in the project at the given moment but wishes to do so.
- With known and hidden communication partners (hard to find out but necessary).
- With your line manager or board of supervisors.
- Etc. ...
So in project management processes the following is crucial: don't stop talking, otherwise the project will suffer.

The Focus of Management in Project Management
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Yes, I do concur with the initiator of this discussion, that the important aspect of project management centers around the word 'management'.
However, the word is too generic to ascribe total importance to the word itself, and to use it as a tool.
In projects management, the three 'pillars' on which the whole gambit of project success lies, are: cost, time and performance.
Management should be used in the most efficient and effective manner to harness, the best of cost, and within least time, to harness an excellent performance outcome...
Which is what distinguishes an ace project planner and implementer from the rest.

Management Support is also an Important Element of Project Management
Kevin M. Adolfo, Management Consultant, Philippines, Member
Based on my experience, the projects that I handled became a lot easier because of the management support. Management support is indeed necessary from start to finish of the project. It has to be present in order to actualize whatever plan you have made as a project manager. It also boosts and empowers the project manager to do his tasks.

Many Things are Crucial for Project Management Success
Schubert Pereira
@Paul D Giammalvo : I tend to agree that there is no single thing:
- People resources are your most important asset.
- Successful project execution is the ability to listen for and understand the sponsor's goals, often not fully conveyed in a scope document, and as we well know, reactively changing as the project unfolds. - It's the ability to take this understanding and communicate it to the team, as well as communicate the team's progress back to the sponsor that is critical.
- Yes, team leadership, motivation, SME knowledge, project metrics, ethics, and all the other efforts project managers put in daily as part of their jobs are also important for success.
- Nonetheless, we have often seen fantastically executed projects that were deemed mere marginal successes, when the communication aspect was missing or poorly executed.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: The Right Project Manager!
Alex Yap, Accountant, Malaysia, Member
I think having the right project manager is the most important factor in any project. It is implied that management is empowered and project team is well equipped.
At the end of the day, any project will fail when the wrong person leads the project team.

Organizational Project Management
Serge Kuznetsov, Teacher, Russian Federation, Member
Indeed project management has much to do with management of business organization, primarily via change management.

Sponsor and Client must Work Together
Marcelo Fenoll Ramal, ICT Consultant, Brazil, Member
There is no magic project management that can save a project when the sponsor and the client aren't working together.
If one of them wants to sabotage the project, it will fail, no matter the expertise of the project manager. This is why I am strongly in favor of project teams including the client and the sponsor.

Most Important in Project Management: Planning
Rosemary Barasa
The most important thing for every project is to plan properly otherwise you plan to fail at all stages.
And that should include people planning to take care of training at the beginning and at every milestone of the project to ensure people remain focused and enthusiastic about the project from the beginning to the end.

Management is Most Important in Projects and Has Many Aspects
FAYEZ, Management Consultant, Saudi Arabia, Member
I agree that the management of the project team, including the integration of the project into the overall management of the firm, the management of the stakeholders and the management of the client relationship will represent a high percentage of the challenge.
However I think the management of the environment changes during the project life should also be considered.
And even managing the alignment of the project execution to the firm values and objectives.

Management of Subcontractors is also an Important Element of Project Management
benjamin, Manager, Taiwan, Member
How to let all subcontractors to work as one team is also an important thing in project management.

Most Important in Project Management: Project Definition and Resources
Grace Alleyne
@David Dicanot: I do agree with you. Unrealistic timelines are the bane of projects. Businesses are sometimes too eager to complete projects and do not carry out detailed planning at the beginning of the project.
If the foundation is not sound, management is not effective.

Most Important in PM: Management of Commitment and Expectations
M Swain, Consultant, United States, Member
@Grace Alleyne: I agree that an unrealistic time frame is the number one bane of project management. The calendar time frame, the talent and capital applied and the expected project deliverables; all have to be in tune together.
It's easy to be (1) cheap with the calendar, (2) cheap with the capital or talent, (3) over ambitious with deliverables. Communication is the key to bring these into harmony.
Typical is the owner who thinks he is driving a good bargain from insufficient planning and resources (capital/talent). The PM is up against overambitious deliverables until the panic sets in. The project comes to a halt with the money bucket draining.

Managing the Most Important Things in Project Management
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Project management principally engulfs:
- Scheduling (critical chain management, event chain management)
- Measuring (of ongoing project activities)
- Costing (project cost controlling, change management);
- Performance (efficient use of allocated funds)
- Taking care of discipline and environment
- Controlling the changes (both internal and external).
Indeed for project success, management of all the above is what matters most.

Most Important Thing in PM: Communication
Greenhow, Consultant, Sweden, Member
@Dirk Schleef : I agree with you that managing different groups of stakeholders depends ultimately on communications - what, when, how, for what, and so on.
And I mean both parts of communication - both the telling and the listening.
Managers too often forget the listening (and feedback mechanisms) in communication.

The Most Important in Project Management: the Humans
abdelmouneam haj bakoor
Indeed everything that has been said is right. But I consider what's most important in project management to be the humans, such as the leader, the plan maker, the implementation team members, etc...
If all people involved know how to participate in implementing the project (they know the goals of the project, they are well oriented and knowledgeable, they are loyal), I think the chances of success are big.

What's Most Important in Project Management: Managing Agreement about the Output and Managing the Interaction
Zoniaina, Coach, Madagascar, Member
- Output: to mobilize, drive and manage, we have to align and to share the same idea of the output; the same perception; the same goal; the same... It must converge on the same point, even when the interests and all components are not the same.
- Interaction: because a project works as a system, we must evaluate every interaction: human versus human, time versus plan, finance versus budget, etc.
Doing that, it is easier for us to re-define our management to get the right output with effectiveness and quality.
And don't forget to celebrate the success. Positive emotion is the best way to get more results after!

Important in Project Management: Managing Strategic Decisions about the Project
Peter Brunner, Management Consultant, Switzerland, Member
We have seen many aspects needed in managing a project.
I would like to stress another point, that is relevant in large western companies. Any project requires decisions on its way that need to be taken by steering committees, upper line management etc. These decisions although professionally addressed by PMs are nowadays a major delay factor in large international organisations, where nobody feels responsible for decisions that have a relevance for more than 1 year.
Yet another point: which organisation allows his (senior) pms to select their team themselves and to report the reality status?
And finally, even if a project is managed well, the environment and the company's culture are also decisive factors for a successful project.

Management Skills of Program Manager
Rebecca Katticaren
I agree that in program management the most important word is "management".
But do not forget that a program manager cannot afford to get exhausted: skills in time management, negotiation, coordination and delegation are crucial elements of management. The PM needs to bring in synergies of the team for effective management of the project/programme, even when the team members are just handed over by the senior.

What's the Most Important in Project Management: Project Issues and Risks Management
Dieudonne Bolisomi Ebengo Mbaku
A project is a vulnerable and sensitive packages of investments. Any turbulence in its environment may request a crucial re-design.
Most of the time stakeholders are unaware of this, which results in all challenges being left to the project manager.
On the other hand, the role of a project manager is definitely to manage project risks if he or she want to keep its project in scope, under the budget and within the time frame.
This does also mean that a successful project is one whose manager has dealt effectively and efficiently with its risks.

What is Most Important in Project Management: Control
Ahmed Zahran, Business Consultant, Egypt, Member
Although I agree with most views demonstrated here, I think that the magic word is "control". If a well established control system is set and enhanced by close follow-up and monitoring, then you guarantee deliverables.

Most Important Thing is Management in a Project
I agree in that the tools are there to make clear the management.
Project plans, communication plans, risk plans are all tools to make sure the PM works with the project staff, the sponsors and stakeholders to make sure they know the whole story and make decisions.
The work of the PM is to communicate, get a decision and then get that decision to the work teams and make progress. Staying within scope, budget, deadline and quality when possible.
If the PM is not doing those, then anyone can manage a project - oh that is what happens now. Functional managers and those with "job experience" as well as the rest of us need to create schedules, conduct meetings and utilize the tools and people to keep things moving, that is why a PM gets the big bucks.

Leadership in Project Management
Damodaram Kuppuswami, Consultant, India, Member
@Ted Garrison : In my view the 70% of management is the leadership dimension. Increasingly the project management is not limited to managerial skills and with growth in responsibilities, the quality of leadership becomes critical.
The proportion between leadership and management may vary depending on the nature of projects. The success of project is determined by the balance one strikes between them.
Most often, the focus in current designs is skewed towards managerial skills and hence requires balancing.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management: the Word Management
Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP, Project Manager, France, Moderator
@Peter Brunner: I fully agree with you Peter, projects exist within organizations for itself, or for its customers, and steering commitees are there to take high level decisions aligned with its strategy or customers' strategy.
As so, the PM must report to the right level of decisions when enterprise environmental factors (process, procedures and so) set it up.
Of course it is a matter of management and governance.

The Most Important Thing in Management is ..
Mario de Obaldia
- Part 1: With a team that is inherited and immutable, discovering the strengths of the "tools" (people) and playing to the strengths.
- Part 2: Choosing the right people for the tasks and then holding everyone accountable (especially oneself).

The Most Important Thing in Project Management is Management, BUT...
RUBEN ACOSTA, Manager, Mexico, Member
Yes, I agree with the title of this discussion, but 'management' must NOT be understood as 'control' anymore, but rather as: 'organizing'.
I think that the organization of team efforts, ideas and self control are the most important variables that a project manager has to be aware of.
The way to manage projects is now different than 20 years ago... In the business world of today, every team member must be able to work alone and interact with the rest of the team.
The project manager or leader must be organizing and supporting these efforts, rather than trying to control them.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management is the Word PROJECT
Leodegardo M. Pruna, Professor, Philippines, Member
@MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff: if we are to consider the words in project management, the more important thing would be the word PROJECT - for as long as the project redounds to the welfare of people who are beneficiaries of what the project is addressed to.

The Vital Importance of Complete Connection and Communication
Vincent Miholic, Manager, United States, Member
While implied in most responses, @Horbinski's is the only one to explicitly suggest the vital importance of clear communication.
Simplifying complex tasks, requires unambiguous exchange of information, especially by managers to subordinates. The root of disconnect, confusion, delay, or frustration (in process, buy-in, production, etc.) is inaccurate messaging.

Personal Motivation of Project Manager
SHEJA Innocent, Director, Rwanda, Member
Every manager has to check himself, because (s)he can influence the impact of the project positively and negatively. So, let us look for our personal motivation to improve the project impact and success chances.

An Overall Vision of Management
redouane sibai, manager, Morocco, Member
Mr. DE JAEGER, I agree with your proposal about the importance of management, considered in terms of a holistic and dynamic and not reduced to a toolbox. My experience is my reference: I worked on supporting businesses and I practiced several approaches in the context of projects.

Having your Team Members Rresponsible for their Task
vickie rodriguez, Student (Other), Member
I agree with the comments on managing people getting all parties concern involved with shared knowledge and putting these ideas to work, having your team members responsible for their task so that managers do no feel so burdened on their task.

Most Important Things in Project Management
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
In my opinion the following things are of paramount important in project management:
1: Effective scheduling covering: critical chain management for funding resources required for project tasks; critical event management to identify main events;measuring need for to find the actual position in relation planning.
2. Costing: to make an effective cost break down structure.
3. Change management: to keep the original project scope in tact.
4. Performance: resource management for availability and optimization (people-equipment-facilities-funds)
5. Leadership: continuous support and maintain material and social order.
6. Quality management: to maintain predetermined product/service: risk management: for bettering (time-money-quality-information)
7. Evaluation management: to maintain contractual & practical management in the fast -track region and avoiding cost spiraling out-of control.

What's Most Important in Project Management?
Emmanuel Mwirichia, Manager, Kenya, Member
- I have managed a number of projects and ambiguous objectives and outcomes really mess up the team.
- A lack of a proper hierarchy and understanding of the reporting structure and decision-making activities leads to frustration many times.
- I also fully agree that if one does not manage people and ensure the team is always taken care of (objectives, fears, motivations) the project is likely to be sabotaged from within. Indeed I have failed every time I have put the result above the people.
- A secret I learnt, it is better to be in agreement than to be right (compromise is key).

The Most Important Thing in Management is Management
MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff, Business Consultant, Brazil, Member
@K.Narayana Moorthy: Further to my previous publication, I would start with a getting to know what the client needs, wants and expects from the suppliers (us in this case).
Next, after staffing the project group, while setting the first schedule draft, I would include the search and analyisis of both legal requirements and environmental requisites (considering the product life cycle until its green disposal).
My statements in previous insertions, remain the same, namely people alocation, guidance, monitoring based on previously established metrics... And permanent follow up.
When I say people I mean skilled, experienced, proactive, creative, quality and cost conscious, eager at the assigment and wanting to grow as a consequence of the impact of their contributions on customer's satisfaction and company profitability.

People / Communications
Joseph Mohammed, Student (Other), Trinidad and Tobago, Member
We have a "communications plan" among the PM docs. Yet, in my experience, we really don't "communicate" and think about "people" in the context of the projects. Sometime pm's are too focused on the project and need a little strategic thinking in the direction the project goes.
By "people" I'm referring to all the actors in a project. The support/ ancillary staff in a pmo, the ground workers and other staff involved.
I have seen trained project managers run with projects with no strategic thinking. Strategic objectives, yes, but the actual strategic thinking is the last thing on their minds.

Most Important Thing in Project Management
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
@MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff : Thank you, all that I can say and reiterate is from experience is: a business cannot survive without conducting ongoing efforts to better understand customer needs.
To discover if your product or service is having positive effect and creating a customer loyalty, take time to ascertain your customer's emotional and material needs, wants, and expectations, and then offer valuable incentives for remaining loyal to your company. Acquiring customer's feedback, asking and listening is a good practice for success.

Project Management is a Complex System Consisting of Many Interlinked Components
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
Folks, I think all of you are missing a very important point. Project management is a system - a combination of interlinked processes.
And in any "system" it is impossible to parse out one part as being "most" or "least" important. A system can only be as strong as the weakest link.
For example:
- Which is the "most important" part of your body? Your heart? Your lungs? Brain? Eyes? Your legs?
- How about your automobile, as another example: Which is more important? The motor? Brakes? Wheels?
Do you see the absurdity of this question from this perspective? if you view project management is a system - in fact, a complex, dynamic adaptive system, and accept that the beauty of this system is it is greater than the sum of the parts, the question of which is "most" or "least" important becomes moot at best and worst, an oxymoron.

Systemic Project Management
Peter Brunner, Management Consultant, Switzerland, Member
@Paul D Giammalvo: Great comment - this is in sequence of what Kambiz Poostchi in his book 'Spuren der Zukunft - Vom Systemdenken zur Teampraxis' (German book) says.
I folowed his seminar of systemic leadership. As (most) things are interlinked, a systemic view and understanding is required. To focus on our topic of project management, a systemic approach requires leadership on (top) management level to allow systemic thinking as a behavior. My experiences in the western world show fragmented and optimized single silos, tuned by respective bonus systems.
It is therefore a challenge for PMs to behave like this. In systemic companies, projects would include persons that are contributing and sharing the best ideas amongst all - instead of being the speaker / representer of a department with the primary job to prevent the own position/responsibility.

The Most Important Thing in Project Management
ATBA Bouchaib, Technical Studies Service Manager, Morocco, Member
@Paul D Giammalvo: hi, great this holistic approach! However I think the heart has a central role in a body: a person can survive without a toe, or a kidney... but not without a heart.
The heart in a project management is the people side management.

The Most Important Thing About Project Management is that it is a SYSTEM
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
@Atba Bouchaib: Atba, in a system, there IS no single "most important" part!
If your big toe has gangrene, it can kill you just as readily as if you have a heart attack (only a lot slower). Or if your kidney ruptures, you may bleed out in 15-20 minutes.
the bottom line is that any system, like a chain, is only as strong as the weakest link. Given project management is a dynamic, adaptive system, the weakest link today may not be the same as it was last week or will be next week.

Project Management is a Complex System..
MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff, Business Consultant, Brazil, Member
@Paul D Giammalvo: distinguished colleague, may I bring to your attention that management is not a system, rather an activity dealing with systems and, there off, with multiple entries processes.
Therefore, I wouldn't dare to endorse the expression "absurdity of the question" referring to so many mutually linked issues and concepts as thoroughly discussed so far by so many sound contributions. Additionally, the body anatomy analogy seems proper to me, although I understand that the question of "most important" does not imply uniqueness, furthermore, implies prioritary handling of many concurrent factors leading to results which equally satisfy the stakeholders.

Many Important Things In Project Management
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Yes, agreed. Any project is to be considered as an adaptive complex macro system comprising of connected micro systems (like ecosystem).
Every enterprise is surrounded by strategies, artifacts, a diverse set of agents (people, budget, tools etc.,), interaction patterns, space (physical), space (processes) and performance measures.
These are all to be carefully monitored and acted upon, because of changing business trends, competitors and environment.

The Most Important in PM: Focus on Output and Interactions
Zoniaina, Coach, Madagascar, Member
All above propositions are right!
We are different, our experiences are different. For me, "output" is the most important thing.
But, we can't get any value-added in any output if we don't care about all interlinks between all components inside the system. For this reason we have to optimise "interactions".
To be successful, we must act with this duality.

Project Management as a Complex System
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
@MSc Alberto Carrizo Kacheff: Upon what scientific basis are you making your claim that management is not a system?
None other than Harold Kerzner has written what many believe to be the "holy bible": Project Management - A Systems Approach".
And one of the competitors to PMI is the International Society of Systems Engineers (INCOSE) .
INCOSE tells us that a system "... is a construct or collection of different elements that together produce results not obtainable by the elements alone. The elements, or parts, can include people, hardware, software, facilities, policies, and documents; that is, all things required to produce systems-level result.

System or Activities
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Paul D Giammalvo : To me:
- A project is primarily a (temporary) system, endeavour or organization.
- Project management is primarily an activity or a group of activities aimed towards or dealing with such system.
We're going to refocus and continue the discussion now to the topic: What is most important in project management, is MANAGEMENT. Any further opinions about the extent to which projects or project management are a system should go in a new topic.

Most Important Thing About Project Management...
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
@Jaap de Jonge (Editor): Jaap, none other than Peter Drucker (in his 1973 book "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices") posits that " is management is management...", regardless of the application or context.
The only meaningful difference between the management of projects and management of operations is that projects have a defined finish. Everything else pertaining to the management of projects versus management of operations is exactly the same.

Project ≠ Project Management..
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Paul D Giammalvo : Hi Paul, the intention of my last reaction was not to dispute if project management is management. Because it obviously is...
My point was that you said earlier in this discussion that @project management is a system, while I believe a project is a system. And project management is an activity or a group of activities aimed towards or dealing with such system.

Project Management versus Operations
Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP, Project Manager, France, Moderator
@Paul D Giammalvo: hi Paul, I really understand your point of view and your reference to Peter Drucker in his book in 1973 arguing that the only difference is that project has a defined finish. But from my experience this is a theory. As a project manager and my experience in project management there are more differences between projects and operations:
First of all strategy execution. Others areas are estimate, budget and cost control, scope definition, responsibility assignments, risks and opportunities, HR management from a non-hierarchical position, contracts management.
It is why we manage projects as projects and do not include it in operations management.

Important thing in Project Management: the word MANAGEMENT -- WHO does WHAT by WHEN?
Maxx, Project Manager, Germany, Member
My view on projects is as simple as achieving other business goals:
>>> WHO does WHAT by WHEN? <<<
Everything can be derived from that.
- Right resources,
- One responsible, not a group
- People with people skills
- etc...
- Specific tasks
- Deliverables, outcomes
- Sequence, work-break-down
- Reporting belongs to the task itself
- etc...
- Precise date, not a time frame or week.

Projectization of Operations....
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
@Jean-Michel DE JAEGER, EMBA, PMP: Jean Michel, many of our mining and oil and gas clients are "projectizing" operations (see an example) which lends credibility to the argument that the only significant difference between operations and projects is the defined end.
As further "proof" pick up any decent textbook on operations management and compare the tools and techniques you find in those books to the tools and techniques you find in any decent textbook on project management and you will see again there is no significant difference.

Project Management
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
In my opinion Mr. DE JAEGER, project management is basically tied up with 5 view points:
- SCOPE (contextual);
- MODEL (Conceptual);
- SYSTEM (Logical);
- TECHNOLOGY (Physical)
- FUNCTIONING (Performance)
against 6 aspects:
- DATA (What);
- NETWORK (Where);
- PEOPLE (Who);
- TIME (When);
It is comprehensive and logical.

Managing a Project is Truly a Cakewalk, Provided You Reign the Triumvirate
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Yes, managing under demanding conditions is the sign of any true leader. Even in projects, managing can become a 'cakewalk' (Editor: ~ something easy to do), provided one knows how to harness and reign the triumvirate for projects: the triple constraints of Time, Cost and Scope of Work.
Many project managers get into an 'introvert fear syndrome', by imagining the worst scenarios for their project. Considering the hard fact, that projects by their nature are unique and anything can happen without a warning, then why get into fear syndrome?
A meticulous planning for the project, coupled with a risks appreciation and mitigation plan means the project is already accomplished for 80%.
The remaining 20% is about harnessing, grooming, and 'cultivating by behavior', the team members. This is possible provided the project leader is fully abreast with the transformation process of the project group into a cohesive TEAM.

Program and Project Management

Best Practices

Program and Project Management


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