The purpose of AOP – a Reprise!

by | Dec 2, 2019 | Manifesto for Action | 0 comments

The tagline for AdamOnProjects is “I want to change the way you think about project management”, even though that might not be very obvious.

I haven’t really promoted this on the blog itself. And I never really articulated the answer the implied questions: “Change from what?” or “Change to what?”.

Originally, I thought that this would be up to the reader. Who knows what thoughts spark in a reader’s head as they read my stories?  That’s part of the wonder of writing.

Besides, there is far too much prescriptive opinion floating around in the field of project management

But, over recent months I’ve been thinking more about this: about the answers to those two questions and about the rationale behind both the questions and the answers. For reasons that will become obvious in the near future I’ve been exploring the depths and boundaries of the field of project management.

This research and reflection, together with my project management experience has given me the renewed goals for this blog and my other writing activities based on my perspective as a project manager.

My perspective comes from my experience as an IT project manager, particularly focused on software development and complex systems integration projects involving custom software, middleware and infrastructure.

Frankly, I look back and wonder how I ended up here. I never planned on becoming an IT Project Manager. At Uni I wanted to be a marine mammal Zoologist. I envisaged an idyllic life snorkelling in tropical seas studying dolphins and whales. I took a half-subject in Computing and boom: career changed overnight.

Leaving out all the steps in between, I was offered my first role as Project Manager because:

a) I had deep experience in a new and growing domain (PC’s when they were new) and so my diagnostic and operational efficiency was very high; and

b) I was good at talking people into things.

Not the two worst qualifications for project management.

Since then (and depending on how you measure that work) I’ve spent over 30 work years, delivered over 150 projects as a hands-on PM (and many times that number in related roles), and nearly 40,000 working hours hands on managing projects, programs or portfolios.

I want use that experience, plus extensive personal reading and literature research, to bring project management up to date with the thinking, practical experience and research that has occurred over the past 40 years. And also to incorporate and reconcile the parallel evolution that has occurred over the same period mainly but not exclusively due to the appearance of Agile.

I see my job at AOP is to collect as much information as is available from as many sources as are available and to do my best to explain, rationalise, reconcile and communicate a broad and consistent view of project management that is independent of methodology, school, organisation or aspiration. And along the way, to synthesise my own contributions of analysis and theory building where necessary to tie things together.

What you do with that is up to you, but I hope that you will join me.

But before we can fix things, we need to understand what is wrong.

Next post, I’ll start looking at a couple of the “meta-problems” that affect how with think and work on project management.

Stay tuned…

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Each week Adam writes about interesting and varied topics for Project Managers everywhere and curates useful articles, books and papers from other sources.