The Project Whisperer: insightful and informative book on Project Management
The Project Whisperer is an insightful and informative book on Project Management written and self published by Pam Stanton. Pam Stanton graduated from Yale University in Psychobiology, an accomplished project manager and consultant with over 20 years of experience. In her book, Pam uses various analogies in an interesting way that captivates reader’s mind and also discusses practical application of helpful techniques. There is a good amount of information on soft skill sand how project managers can adopt and apply these towards managing teams and delivering successful projects.
The title – Project Whisperer implies – a Project Manager who can understand and interpret behaviors of a project team and use this understanding of their teams individual personality, needs, thought processes and communication style to develop trust and confidence necessary for a strong team. A project whisperer applies this insight to lead a team based on trust and respect for each other. The subtitle- Understanding the human part of the Gantt chart is not only intriguing but also gives the right message. The book discusses soft skills that a project manager must posess and the core that projects are about people hence the emphasis on considering the importance and management of teams with the human touch. The premise of the book is based on 3 factors –
- Projects are about people- because project teams are but naturally groups of people
- There are predictable behavioral dynamics that can easily propel or derail a team, and a Project Manager can and should anticipate these and create optimal conditions for success
- Traditional methodologies and processes alone are not enough and cannot guarantee success
Another interesting contributor to explaining the author’s view of project management is the analogy behind the sport of curling. The sport of curling is where one player slides a stone towards a target on an ice field and 2 players then sweep the field before it and remove obstacles and improve field conditions in order to enable the stone to reach its target. Similarly, a project manager can be that enabler to the team that removes all obstacles and optimizes the working conditions for the team.
Practical implementation at work place
- Asses where team is at- both individually and as a whole
- Roadblocks or obstacles- this can be done by making observations or direct inquiry
- Clear the path – remove obstacles
The Project Whisperer approach has clear benefits over others. Many a times Intimidation and Fear are used to fuel performance but evidently it fails as it burns out if repeated often. The Project Whisperer approach is in accordance with the core belief that everyone wants to be successful, be recognized for their efforts and good work, feel good about what they do and how they do it. A project whisperer understands and identifies oneself to be an integral part of organizational growth and change. It is not just about delivering a project but it’s also important to not leave behind body bags, and that business organizations grow as a whole.