Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why the Sheepdog Analogy?

A Project Manager is a necessary evil

A Project Manager is a necessary evil. Why? Well, the PM doesn't produce anything - write code, lay concrete or whatever. However, don't have one and see what happens!

I remember a management course I attended a few years ago now. The "team" of 8 people was left sat in a room for 10 minutes to stew a bit and then someone came into the room, left a card (containing the "project brief") on the table and promptly left without saying anything. The next 30 minutes were very revealing in that lots of people read the brief, there were lots of discussions "I suggest we do x, y...." but no conclusion and no action. We finally ran out of time with nothing achieved.

It was a pretty clear demonstration of the need for a nominated leader, even if the leader is chosen by the group themselves.

The cartoon above is, of course, a bit tongue in cheek but as a fan of a funny image to retain information in the brain, I think of a Project Manager as a Sheepdog :-)

So completing the analogy, if the Sheepdog is the Project Manager, who is the Shepherd? The Shepherd is the Project Owner (Sponsor) who has an objective and instructs the Project Manager to manage the Project team (Sheep) to achieve that objective.

I'm a great believer that a bit of humour combined with the odd Proverb and visual image is a good way to convey a message and importantly act as a memory jogger so you will see these in the blog.

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