Project Management, People Management

What's the relationship of project management and people management?

The worst professional project managers I've worked with over the years were universally terrible people managers. Conversely, the best project managers were outstanding people managers.

(Two clarifications: First, I'm talking about people whose explicit "day job" is managing projects, not "accidental" project managers. Second, by "people manager" in this context I don't mean line reporting relationships, but rather the art of helping your team decide they want to do what you need them to do.)

While correlation doesn't imply causation - in other words, just because two things happen together doesn't mean A causes B - I do think there is causation in play here. If you are not effective at leading people, you won't be effective at managing projects involving independent-minded knowledge workers.

This can be a difficult dilemma for attorney project managers. Many attorneys receive no training in how to manage people, let alone lead them. Luckily, the traits that select for "good attorney,"  or at least "successful attorney," seem to have some correlation with "good people manager," and thus a significant number of experienced attorneys - though for sure not all of them! - learn over time how to be leaders also. These are the ranks from which good project managers will arise.

Read the entire post at the Lexician Blog.