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26 August 2007

The 5 Minds of a Project Manager

In 2003 Henry Mintzberg and Jonathan Gosling published The Five Minds of a Manager in HBR.

If you know Mintzberg’s recent work you know the gist of the article already; management education is generally flawed in it’s approach to building up functional competencies without the context of the need to integrate work. The article’s abstract sums up the challenge concisely;

“Managers are told: Be global and be local. Collaborate and compete. Change perpetually, and maintain order. Make the numbers while nurturing your people.

To be effective, managers need to consider the juxtapositions in order to arrive at a deep integration of these seemingly contradictory concerns. That means they must focus not only on what they have to accomplish but also on how they have to think.”

The article highlights five key asks managers need to be good at managing.

  • The self (the reflective mind-set)
  • Organizations (the analytic mind-set)
  • Context (the worldly mind-set)
  • Relationships (the collaborative mind-set), and
  • Change (the action mind-set).

The PMBOK already discusses the knowledge area of integration. Integration in the PMBOK takes a typically functional approach. It is about ensuring your project plan is an integrated and coordinated document, that your execution of the plan is integrated (ie makes sense in the way it’s done) and in managing change into the process effectively.

Integration is more than integrating documents to work actions though. It incorporates the management ideas of Gosling and Mintzberg. The document and task integration are servants to these higher level integration activities. Projects are managed and executed by people, and those people come together and form an organisation; the project team.

You can buy the article here: The Five Minds of a Manager. Also, a blogger called Sambit has reviewed the article from a general management perspective.



photo care of flickr