I have just finished chapter 6 (implementing program management) but had to go back and make a few changes to earlier chapters to keep everything consistent. Just starting on chapter 7 (managing a program) and I’ll end up having to make changes to chapter 6 so I don’t duplicate anything. There’s a nice symmetry to all this.
Many things can cause conflicts on a project: schedules, budgets, technical opinions and administrative procedures to name but a few. The project manager has to deal with these conflicts to keep the project on track and I have known some project managers that take the approach of confronting problems head on.
The wise project manager takes a more gentle approach. If there is a problem, he tries to identify the cause of the difficulty. If someone is being difficult, the wise project manager is assertive about the issue but does not over-react. He is gentle with them and explains what he wants to achieve. But if that doesn’t work, he still does not over-react, he steps back and yields knowing that their resistance will relax. The wise project manager realises how much how little can achieve.
The softest thing in the universe,
Overcomes the hardest.
That which has no substance,
Can penetrate where there is no space.
I thus understand the value of being motiveless.
Teaching without words.