As an independent Project/Programme Management consultant who works with some of the largest corporates in the world I get to see the current acceptable practices in operation. An alarming trend I have spotted for some time is the rise of the “Battery Project Manager”.
The Battery project Managers sit in clusters with other Battery Project Mangers and manage their project from afar as an academic exercise. There I no interaction with the business and no understanding of what the actual project is trying to achieve.
Its all about the process
They follow process without regard to what it is they are doing. They use so called “enterprise tools” to report up and enact the latest edict without challenge.
Issues and risks go into logs and are tracked mechanically and updated when requested. Status reports are completed on time as dictated by the PMO (The Programme Management Office).
There is no real distinction between a PMO analysts and a Battery Project Manager, in its worst manifestation Project Managers are subordinate to the analyst.
As you can tell from the article I am not overly impressed with what I see with this trend. Project management is a people game and requires interactions with others to be successful.
Its people that make projects a success not the process. Anyone can blindly follow a process but the real magic happens when you start questioning why things are done in a certain way.
I am convinced that this trend is the reason why we see examples in the news of “glitches” with Bank systems or mobile phone systems not been available for hours. People who bear the scars of projects over the years know where the pitfalls are and where to look for likely problems.
If you haven’t been at the coalface it’s difficult to see what may happen.
I personally believe that the Project Management profession is at a crossroads between the entrepreneurial (free range) Project Managers and the Battery Project Managers.
I know if it was my business what I would want is to have project managers who focused on the content and not the process.