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Common Sense Management?

By Mike Barrett ·
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Is it just me?

by Mike Barrett In reply to Common Sense Management?

<p>Or is there a whole industry dedicated to making management (general and project) seem like it's something so complicated that you can only learn how to be successful from a book/seminar/course?</p>
<p>Nobody goes on a course to learn how to manage their household or bring up their kids, we just use our common sense and judgement.  Admittedly we don't always get it right but we learn to trust our gut feel and morals as to what is right or wrong, discuss it with our partners and make decisions accordingly.</p>
<p>I'm interested in trying to outline some ways we should bring this mentality into the workplace and into our management styles.  Creating complexity just confuses people, whatever project you are managing, the most important element is being able to communicate effectively with people in language they can understand.  Whatever business you are in, the most important thing to be able to do is make sensible decisions.  Even if they turn out to be wrong, we seem to be frozen with paralysis because there are too many options.</p>
<p>I have no idea where this is going or if anyone else is remotely interested but I'm going to give it a go - in the interest of common sense.....</p>

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Is it just me?

by Stubby In reply to Is it just me?

I don't know that I can help you, but I wholeheartedly agree. Managers
(in the vast majority of the ones I've met or worked under) try to make
things much more difficult than they even need be.<br />
<br />
I recall vividly my first ever project plan. It was one side of A4 that
basically said I will do this and this bu then and Fred will do this by
then, and so on. Straight forward doable items, not some airy fairy if
X is done by Y then do G else do B. Anyway, it was thrown out and I was
told to re-do it. So I did, but all I did was put a front cover on it
and pad it out wth more words ....... and amazingly it got accepted. In
reality it said exactly the same as my first one though.<br />
<br />

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Is it just me?

by Beth Blakely In reply to Is it just me?

<p>Interesting perspective. I think you should debate the issue with this fellow:</p><a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5253-6257-0-1.html?id=4000086">http://techrepublic.com.com/5253-6257-0-1.html?id=4000086</a>
<p>I've suggested the same to him.</p>

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Is it just me?

by rojackson In reply to Is it just me?

<p>With more than 20 years of PM experience in the IT arena, I have seen more than my share of debacles based upon the "gut feeling" argument.</p>
<p>Would you ride on a space shutttle that was built on gut feeling?</p>
<p>Would you get into a car that was put together on gut feeling?</p>
<p>You may be able to do this on small efforts, but if you are really using good PM techniques then you understand that the documentation is always commensurate with the effort.</p>
<p>Wisdom is the ability to learn from other peoples experiences (read mistakes) knowledge is learning from your own.  There are thousands of man years worth of experience in managing projects of all types. The wise thing to do is to use that experience to your advantage so that you don't have to learn "the hard way." </p>
<p>I don't disagree that PM requires common sense or good communication, any basic PM class will teach you this.  I'll reserve my judgment until I see what you have to say  </p>

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Is it just me?

by rojackson In reply to Is it just me?

<p>Actually it's me @:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99</p>

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Is it just me?

by rojackson In reply to Is it just me?

<p>With more than 20 years of PM experience in the IT arena, I have seen more than my share of debacles based upon the "gut feeling" argument.</p>
<p>Would you ride on a space shutttle that was built on gut feeling?</p>
<p>Would you get into a car that was put together on gut feeling?</p>
<p>You may be able to do this on small efforts, but if you are really using good PM techniques then you understand that the documentation is always commensurate with the effort.</p>
<p>Wisdom is the ability to learn from other peoples experiences (read mistakes) knowledge is learning from your own.  There are thousands of man years worth of experience in managing projects of all types. The wise thing to do is to use that experience to your advantage so that you don't have to learn "the hard way." </p>
<p>I don't disagree that PM requires common sense or good communication, any basic PM class will teach you this.  I'll reserve my judgment until I see what you have to say  </p>

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Is it just me?

by Wayne M. In reply to Is it just me?

<p>The dark secret of successful project management is that it is a subjective, social task.  One needs to get agreement from various parties ("stakeholders") who otherwise likely do not talk to one another.  One must convince the project team to take certain actions and act in certain ways.  At a high level, this may appear to be common sense, but in practice this often breaks down.  The skills needed by a project manager are not intuitive and certainly be taught, but this is not what is covered by most formal project management approaches.</p>
<p>At best, tools such as earned value only tell what has already happened.  At worst, these tools distort reality.  After a group reaches consensus, it can be useful to send around a <em>summary</em> document.  The presense, however, of a scope or requirements or some other document does not imply consensus.  A project team can give its best prediction on the cost and schedule, but tools like COCOMO, Function Points, or PSP do not improve anyone's ability to predict the future.  There is no magic to make predictions fall within the mystical +/- 10% range.</p>
<p>Project management is about dealing with people, the future, and uncertainties.  A key factor is the ability to adapt and adjust (a Marine Corps phrase of which I am fond).  One needs to be immersed in the reality of the project, as it is today, not buried in an office generating reports and charts based on old numbers of questionable reliability.</p>
<p> </p>

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Wow!

by Mike Barrett In reply to Common Sense Management?

<p>Apologies for the delay in posting, I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks and then the events in London over the past weeks have meant I've not had too much time to respond.</p>
<p>Little did I know that my posting would be picked up and used in the first newsletter until I got it myself and realised that I was famous at last!  I'm amazed that people are responding and it's interesting to see quite contrasting views already.</p>
<p>First let me say that no, I definitely wouldn't ride in a space shuttle that was built on gut feel!  Project Management is a profession in it's own right and as such has a set of skills that are required to do the job effectively.  This is true of pretty much all jobs where you are "doing".  I think what's interesting about project management in particular is how you bring those skills to bear which is much more about management than skills.</p>
<p>I would argue that to purely make decisions based on the facts and logic is not enough.  Using the shuttle analogy, plenty of people after the disasters came out and said that they had advised that it shouldn't have launched/returned without additional work but they couldn't prove anything, it came from experience.  Most of the time we don't have all the facts at our disposal so we have to make a call, the guru's would have you believe that there is a magic sauce that can propel you to the right decision but there isn't.</p>

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Wow!

by Wayne M. In reply to Wow!

<p>Let me pose an alternate question.  Would you ride in a space shuttle that ignored gut feel when it was built?</p>
<p> </p>

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