Fundamentals Of Project Management

To certain terms conditions copyright 1996 2000

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Unformatted text preview: P. Lewis AMACOM Books ISBN: 0814478352 Pub Date: 01/01/95 Search Tips Search this book: Advanced Search Previous Table of Contents Next Title Chapter 7 Project Control and Evaluation ----------- Every step described up to now has had one purpose—to achieve control of the project. This is what is expected of a project manager—that organization resources be managed in such a way that critical results are achieved. The word control has two meanings; it is important that we use the one that is appropriate in today’s world. Control can imply domination, power, command. We control people and things through the use of that power. When we say “jump,” people ask, “How high?” At least they used to. It doesn’t work that way today. I have discussed the fact that project managers often have a lot of responsibility but little authority. Let’s examine that fact and see if it is really a problem. I have asked several corporate officers (presidents and vice presidents) this question: “Since you have a lot of authority, does that authority guarantee that people will do what you want done?” Uniformly, they answer, “No.” “What does get them to do what you want done?” “Well, in the end analysis, they have to want to do it,” they say. “Then what does your authority do for you?” I ask. “Well, it gives me the right to exercise sanctions over them, but that’s all.” Having authority does not guarantee that you will be able to get people to do your bidding. In the end, people have to be willing to do as you ask, which means that you have to understand what motivates people so that you can influence them to do what needs to be done. There are two kinds of authority: power over people and the ability to make decisions and to act unilaterally. There is a second kind of authority that has to do with taking actions unilaterally—that is, without having to www.erpvn.net get permission first. In this sense of the word, many companies do have a lot of organizational problems. I meet project managers who have project budgets in the millions of dollars (as much as $35 million in one case), yet who must have all expenditures approved. Now if a project plan and budget have been approved before the work was started and if the project manager is spending within the approved limits of the plan, why should more signatures be needed? Only if a deviation from the plan is going to result should approvals be required, and then the plan should be revised to reflect those changes. Consider the messages being sent to these managers. On one hand, they are being told, “We trust you to administer $35 million of our money.” On the other hand, they are told, “But when you spend it, you must have every expenditure approved by someone of higher authority.” One is a positive message: We trust you. The other is negative. Which do you think comes through loud and clear? You bet! The negative. Interestingly, we complain that people in organizations won’t...
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