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Project Manager : Project Manager April May 2012
www.aipm.com.au Project Manager 35 WhEN yOu’RE WORKINg uNdER PREssuRE TO dElIVER A PROjECT AROuNd TIME, COsT ANd quAlITy IMPERATIVEs, ThERE’s lITTlE TOlERANCE FOR sElF-sERVINg syCOPhANTIC BEhAVIOuR “ The most important thing to do is to break up any bureaucratic habits that create dysfunction. Often, things aren’t r unning smoothly because there’s a lack of clarity about what task s indiv iduals should be doing and confusion around ownership. As project manager, you have to understand what the problem is and break that up.” Russell believes most people working on a project just want to get the job done and they want to do it well. He says infighting on shows such as The Apprentice is encouraged because it makes for g reat drama. But, in reality, a project simply cannot proceed when staff are squabbling or trying to impress the boss at all costs. Making better decisions In Project Management, A Managerial Approach, authors Jack Meredith and Samuel Mantel write that “a great majority of all decisions made in the course of managing a project are actually made under conditions of uncertainty”. The fact that frontline project managers must regularly act decisively on a limited amount of information is why a show such as The Apprentice m ight be worth watching. Project manager at Sinclair Knight Merz, Mark Newton, admits he is not a fan of the reality-TV genre. But he acknowledges there a re lessons to be learnt from both The Apprentice and Undercover Boss, which are aired on commercial networks in Australia. One example is that effective and strategic decision-makers might sometimes outperform their project m an ager counterparts. In the US version of The Apprentice, A merican billionaire Donald Tru mp – who created the concept for the show – regularly makes difficult decisions on the spot. But Newton acknowledges that effective leadership is more than being able to act decisively. “Being aware of what is going on and being able to make decisions is an important part of managing projects. But leadership is more than being able to make a decision,” says Newton, who is also an AIPM Board Member and WA Chapter P resident. “Unlike The Apprentice, Undercover Boss is about managing change; influencing employees, bringing your team along with a shared purpose and knowing whether your intent has been understood. “The project manager, like the ‘undercover boss’ needs to understand how to communicate to people they may not relate to on a persona l level.” Newton says project managers should be more inspired by the Undercover Boss format, as it emphasises how important it is for managers to have open and direct interactions with their staff. ••• CAreer CenTre •
Project Manager Feb March 2012
Project Manager June July 2012