Management Concepts: Reality Or Myth

Management concepts always fascinated me. I always envied the MBA grads until I completed my Executive MBA. I went through a lot of case studies and concepts, which were based on the actions or activities performed by the organizations due to which they were successful. Many a times I found out those companies who out performed faded out in the long run. I was skeptical about the studies, which were made and the publications, which glorified their existence. When I wanted to make a point I could not rely on the studies that was published to justify management concepts. I consoled myself that a lot of activities and decisions that are made can give success and may be in the long run few decisions can matter in terms of defining the existence. The activity and decision, which gave the company, the cutting edge may be kept aside and not mixed up with the overall failure of the organization in the long run.

As we all know, success and failure depend upon a lot of factors and sometimes are out of the reach of the executives who take decision for the organization. The organization can have a great strategy and the strategy could be followed extremely well but still success can be something more than the strategy because an organization without a strategy can also become successful. Product differentiation, value proposition and cutting edge technology may give you a position in the market place, but may not be sufficient enough to become successful in the market place. I was fascinated by the quote provided by the representative of one of the venture capital organization who said that the companies are successful because they resolved their problems better than their competitors. It is as simple as that. An example of organization’s success is not enough if the other organizations just imitate because the result has many contexts, which may not suit to the organization that is imitating.

I always thought of starting my own organization and a dear friend of mine told me that 20% of organizations only succeed. I thought that was a great encouragement. There were many organizations that made profit after 10 years of existence. It always made an impression in my mind and made the perspective of business when the long-term was always the first priority. The organization may be doing great for the time being, but it’s existence will only depict when it sustains its success for a longer period of time otherwise the success looses it’s value. Every organization wants to be a success, but the only aspect is to take the right approach the right time at the right place. I do not believe in luck rather I believe in hard work. I believe in the solution that suits the long-term survival of the organization. I believe in the road map and do not believe in imitating successful organizations’ strategy.

This makes me harder to do a case study to define the management concepts. May be I will define the concept based on the success story now and contradict it in the future. That is the reason why the concepts change so rapidly and everybody wants to know the latest management concept. Nobody can see the future and can predict the result of the action or decision that will bring in future. That is why I am very safe if I imitate the successful strategy.

Project Management Concepts – Know the Project

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today I want to look at the knowledge that we all need about the work on our projects. The project management concept I will be looking at today is: Project managers need to know what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done.

We need to have knowledge of what has already been done. It is important for us to know the path we took to get to where we are now, to understand the decisions we took, to remember the obstacles we had to overcome. In this way, we can learn from our project experience, and make our future path smoother.

We know that we need a good awareness of what is happening in the project at present. This awareness, this knowledge of what is happening right now, means we become aware of problems as soon as possible, to make sure we can solve them as quickly as possible.

We also need to have knowledge of where we plan to go next. It is important for us to have a clear idea of where we are going, to understand the challenges that we will face, to accept that unforeseen problems will arise, and to plan to deal with surprises. To make sure these unexpected events don’t derail the project, we have to have an understanding of our final objective.

By having knowledge of these three areas – the past, present, and future – we can improve our management of the project. We can do this by drawing on our experiences from the past to help us overcome obstacles we face in the present, and plot a course around foreseeable problems in the future.

And that leads us to today’s concept: Project managers need to know what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done.

Project Management Concepts – Most Important Resource

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at what is controlled, the resources that we can use to carry out the work of the project, and particularly the most important resource. The concept I am looking at today is: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.

We already know that we can, within limits, control time taken, money spent, and scope fulfilled. But how are they controlled? Essentially, we are looking at how we can control these three resources. A project manager will have a certain amount of time and money to achieve a certain amount of scope.

But the key resource, the one which effects all of the project, is, of course, the team of people who are actually doing the work. In them, the three areas of control are combined.

Each of the team members has only a limited amount of time they can work on the project. Each of the team members will need to be paid for. And each of the team members will have different skills, and different abilities. Project management, then, needs to be able to guide the work of the team in the right way. We must allocate the work to the right individuals, giving guidance as to how long to spend on it, what quality is needed, and, if expenditure other than that on the team member’s salary is needed, how much can be spent.

So, we need control of the resources allocated to the project, and that includes the team. But, unlike money and time, team members can easily be distracted and pulled off to work on something else. But a project manager needs to retain control.

This leads us to a project management concept: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.