Project Administrators Verses Project Managers

by on February 6th, 2011
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In the current environment with a bad economy that has been going on for so long for the most part you see a lot of strife in the workplace. People are still hostile. It seems hostility and surreptitious plotting is the standard method of operation anymore. People are not team members. They are solo players on a project fighting each other to survive the battlefield. Most projects are some sort of test of success or failure. If the project is a success those on the project may survive to get on another project. If the project fails, they may lose their jobs in the next sweep of layoffs. Project failure is rampant. Every misstep or mistake becomes a blame game as to who is going to take the fall for the error.

Projects are often managed by unqualified project managers due to the use of lower level administrative type staff for project managers. These people are more familiar with filling out company reporting project forms than the actual in depth trench work it takes to actually physically manage a project. They are Project Administrators and are far less expensive than Project Managers. Executive management doesn’t understand the difference; and they often think if a person understands the reporting forms they can manage a project. Then they can’t understand why their projects are failing.

All the forms in the world aren’t going to succeed in the PHYSICAL aspects of managing their projects. Project Management requires a great deal of PHYSICAL aspects of actually managing a project. A Project Manager has to clearly understand the entire intended purpose of the project and how it is supposed to come together with outside components as well as its own portions and every interface, requirement, customer needs, business needs, and how to make sure the team can deliver regardless of any issues that may arise. Forms don’t clearly define the scope and hash out the requirements. Forms won’t figure out how the requirements sync up together and determine how the different parts of a system are going to interface with each other. Forms might designate who is responsible for each piece of the project; but they will fail to piece together who is going to connect the pieces and who is responsible for the connections. Forms don’t have experience, instinct, history, “been there, done that, have the T-shirt”. Forms can’t realign things when you get behind schedule to figure out how to recover the time lost.

Forms can’t bring a hostile team back together and resolve the hostility. Forms can’t negotiate scope creep. Forms can’t reassign tasks when someone gets sick or resigns. Forms can’t convince people to work together and be a team despite past hostilities.

Sometimes senior executives don’t realize being penny wise can be pound foolish. You would think in this age by now people would understand the importance of seasoned professional Project Managers over Project Administrators. After all the mistakes over the years with IT professionals they still continue to make similar mistakes. Senior Executives still have not figured out taking shortcuts really hurt them in the long run. Years ago it was putting technical people in project management positions and now it’s putting administrative people in the roles. Please, just stop and put real Project Managers in the positions and pay for what you need. Project Management isn’t as easy as it looks and it takes a lot of experience and some real talent to juggle so many things and bring it all together simultaneously. In the end it saves you from disposing of the entire project because it has failed. What is a $100k salary versus a $50k salary if it keeps you from tossing away a $5M(or more) IT project? Not to mention all the other salaries you paid for on the project you had to toss.

Come on Corporate America – do the math!! No wonder our economy can’t recover!

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