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The key to becoming a successful manager of projects is to lead people in the direction you want them to go, in such a way that they will think it was their idea.

Speaking at Plimmerton Rotary on 8th May, professional project manager Dr George Allan explained that effective management of a team required members of the team to actually think about the matter at hand.

“Too many people have not been taught to think. This activity is most important for a project to be successful. Members of the group need to listen carefully to others and take time to consider different points of view, rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak and not listening to others.”

The successful leader of a project management team needed to be a good listener, taking in the comments made by members of the group and occasionally prodding them in the desired direction. “Often members of the group may ask ‘Why do we need to change all the time?’ and the answer is always: ‘Because the environment we work in changes all the time and we have to keep up with reality.’

“It is important to stress the importance of moving forward, to enable the issue at hand to be properly addressed.”

It was better to teach the art of thinking at an under-graduate level than to teach people how to programme a computer. “If we just teach facts, this will remove the need to think. It is far more important to teach students how to really think about things by looking at a situation from different perspectives and considering all options.”

In a lighter vein, Dr Allan said he had a sign on the outside of his office door: “All those who come through this door bring me great happiness". Inside his door was a second sign, "Some on the way in, and some on the way out.”

The Art of Project Management

 
 
 
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