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Is there a project management philosophy?

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In my opinion, project management has grown from a mere practice, to best practices, to a profession in the span of a few decades. I'm thinking if project management is now mature enough to have its own philosophy. I know that this is a somehow deep question but it would be nice to know what others from the PM community think about this topic.

(By the way if you do think that there's a project management philosophy then please let us know how do you describe it!)
asked 11 years ago by anonymous

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There is no such thing as "project management philosophy", however, there are some project managers who have their own philosophy when it comes to project management, sometimes this philosophy is lighthearted and funny, sometimes it is serious.

Here's one of the funny PM philosophies:

- Enthusiasm just before starting the project: The project manager and the project team are enthusiastic to start a new project, they want something new and challenging! They think that the project is going to be fun!

- Disillusionment when the project starts: After the project officially starts, the project manager discovers that he was disillusioned, the project is not as fun as it initially seemed, and it's becoming harder and more complicated by the day!

- Panic as the project is over-budget and behind schedule: The PM goes into panic mode, nothing is going according to plan, he is constantly hit by change requests, and even the original tasks are taking much longer than expected.

- Search for the guilty as the project ends: When the project is over and is considered to be a failure, the executives will search for the guilty who caused the project to fail. Everyone is looking a scapegoat at this point.

- Punishment for the innocent (or the scapegoat): When the scapegoat is found, then he is punished although he probably had nothing to do with the project failure. The scapegoat may be one of the following:
    - The project manager
    - The team leader
    - One of the senior team members

- Reward for the non-participant: Once the scapegoat is punished, then it's now time to reward those who had nothing to do with the project (and maybe those who insisted all the time that the project is doomed). Those who are rewarded may include:
    - The functional manager
    - Team members from another project
    - The project manager (if and only if he scapegoated someone else)

Now here's another PM Philosophy, this time from a much more serious perspective:

- Team members need to follow someone: That someone should be a leader, in other words, the Project Manager must be a leader for team members to give 100% of their energy.

- Projects that are not well planned are a recipe for disaster: How many times have you heard "Failing to plan is planning to fail"? Those project managers who take the planning phase lightly will regret it afterwards.

- The main point behind project management is getting the project done: Following a certain PM methodology is a mean to an end, and should never be the goal itself. The goal should always be finishing the project, regardless of the methodology.

- There are times when we should accept failure: Insisting that a project will succeed when nobody else thinks it will is futile, and is a waste of the company's resources and time. Project stakeholders and project managers alike should know when it's time to drop the ball on a project, regardless of how painful it will be to declare failure.

- Learning from the past is a key for success in the future: Looking at the lessons learned of past projects and examining what these projects went through (the good and the bad) will reduce the likelihood of similar bad things happening on future projects and will increase the chances that they will succeed.
answered 11 years ago by MaplePM (46,940 points)

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