Support the Professionals

Feb 02, 2015 by Barc Category: Agile, Blog, Scrum, Uncategorized 0 comments

I’ll never forget the day I reconnected with my friend Babak Ardalan a few years ago. He’s a seasoned program manager who I’d worked with on big projects for Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, and others. When the conversation turned to work, he told me he’d dropped all of the standard project management artifacts and was running his current projects with a whiteboard and stickies.

I thought he was joking.

No risk reports? No Gantt charts? No status reports?

“Nope. We get into a room and talk.”

I thought he’d lost his project management mojo for good.

But he’s still got it, still running some of the biggest projects out there (including the recent integration of Bank of America’s IT systems with Countrywide’s).

Today, about ten years later, I’m converted to his mojo. I’ve given up monitoring professionals and turned to supporting them instead.

It’s amazing what you can get done with:

  • Energy
  • Trust
  • Commitment

…and stickies, of course.

That doesn’t mean you don’t need deep expertise in complex technologies, testing, and graphic design. But a good project manager trusts and supports that expertise on a daily basis, asking good questions to ferret out misunderstandings, helping run interference when necessary, and mapping out the next few plays so the team can focus their expertise on the right next steps.

My friend Babak learned to keep his tools in his toolkit (until absolutely needed) long before I did.