Project Managers Must Be Realists

I have often written about the well-recognised traditional project management methodologies such as APM PMQ, PMP and PRINCE2; less so about the Agile and Scrum techniques. But whatever type of method is employed to get a project done an experienced project manager will know that they also have to be a realist. Fresh out of a good training course people are generally fully committed to the ideals of the method they were studying – they will go back to their workplace enthused with new ideas and better ways to make their next project and all future projects more successful.


But it generally doesn’t take long for reality to hit home.


Organisations, clients, stakeholders may be committed to the idea of a structured and controlled way of delivering projects but this ideal does not always fit in with business and external market pressures so project managers have to learn to adapt a technique to suit their real-life working environment.


Resources may be in short supply – both human and financial – and no matter how eloquently and convincingly a project manager can argue for additional resources if they are simply not available then something will have to give in the project.


Or maybe, in reality, senior management are not as supportive of a methodology as they claim to be or a client is not fully involved. In reality there are plenty of factors that can undermine a good project management framework. But the most experienced and successful project managers can take elements from PMP, APM PMQ, Agile, or any other technique, and get them to deliver projects for a particular workplace culture. Different project management techniques are like tools – you need the right tool for the right job but not all tools will work for all jobs. Knowing which technique to use when is an essential project management skill.


So project managers need to be realists, capable or adapting to different projects and different working environments. Being adaptable and knowing which technique, method or process to use when are essential project management skills.