The 2 kinds of project managers

"There are only two kinds of project managers, those who care about the clients and those who care about the beneficiaries."

Those who care about the beneficiaries set their goals thinking of them, not caring much if the decisions taken would please the client or not. Every thought, every decision, every opinion is used to accomplish the goals of the project that will directly and undoubtely help the beneficiaries.

In the other hand, those more worried about how the proposal will fit in the mind of the client, suffer of a sort of self-censorship that prevent them from finding the best solutions, from making the best proposals. Their mind is not set on the beneficiaries but in the client, in the one who pays for the project, not in the ones who will have to enjoy it.

Thus, the ones caring about the client and not the beneficiaries sometimes deliver projects that are bought and accepted by the clients but that don't please the beneficiaries. This is what I call a robery; they take money from a client that buys the project thinking that the proposal will solve the problems the beneficiaries have. Some may say that this is the client's responsibility. It is, yes, except when the project leader knows it, when he or she is aware that the proposal doesn't include ideas or data that may cause criticism from the client.
So, in the end, clients buy a very polite, non-offensive proposal that doesn't take things as far as it could, and shake hands with project leaders that are only interested in getting money out of this, nothing more, nothing less.

We have, as project leaders, a responsibility. And our responsibility is not only with our clients. Of course they pay us and, thus, the last word upon the proposal implemented must be theirs, but we must never forget that we're hired, precisely, because of our knowledge, because we can open their eyes and let them see through the mist. We MUST give them a proposal that, in fact, is not only a good proposal, but the best possible proposal for their scenario.

Let me finish with just one more thing. I don't mean to offend anyone with those statements above. We've all been there, we've all needed, sometimes, a project to be accepted to go on with our businesses or whatever. It's not about judging anyone, it's about inviting project leaders to take a step forward, to really make a good use of the power received when we use all the powerful tools that we master. It's an invitation to make a better world thanks to our projects. We have the chance, it's only a matter of will.

2 comentaris:

Sara_broca ha dit...

Hi Marc,

Really good article.
The 2 kinds of project managers you're talking about are existing in each of us.
Sometimes, we're obliged to be focus on our client even if we aren't agree. Then 2 choices are possible : to continue the project or leave the project. This choices depends on our beliefs and our vision of project management.
My choice since I've became a PM is to leave. It's not the good choice, it's just mine :-)

Marc Ambit ha dit...

Hi Sara!

Principles is what we're talking about here, right?
My point is that it will be better for everyone, be it the client, the beneficiaries, any stakeholder or even the Project Manager, to have strong beliefs and ethics. It's part of your project management style's DNA and in the future, a dceision like the one you mention will come back to reward you.