Project Management Concepts – The Project Manager Manages

Today I want to look at how the project work gets done. We already know we need to protect the team, and make sure they can get on with the tasks assigned to them. But this also means we need to get on with the tasks assigned to us, the job of project management. The concept I am looking at today is: The project manager doesn’t do the work, he does the managing.

Project management is hard work. On all but very small projects, it is a full-time job. And that means you really shouldn’t be being pulled off to do other work in the project.

I’m not saying that we don’t have the skills to do some of the work. Many of us will have worked our way up through doing project work – we are used to it, and we understand it.

But if we are doing the work, then we aren’t managing the project! We need to remember where our skills lie. Often we will get dragged into doing the some of the tasks, but this is a failure of project management (usually on the organization’s behalf), not an essential part of it.

Make sure you are using appropriate resources to get the work done. The project manager is rarely an appropriate resource! And that gives us a project management concept: The project manager doesn’t do the work, he does the managing.

(Having said that, I have ended up doing project work for the majority of projects I have worked on. This isn’t a good thing, but it is the real world. You should aim to avoid this if at all possible.)