Berkun on PMs and Respect

Since I riffed on Manny Ramirez and Theo Epstein earlier (here), let’s continue the baseball metaphor.  Scott Berkun drives a “hanger” a long way when he highlights how PMs sabotage their personal brands (here).  The money quote:

Many PMs unintentionally reinforce this view by trying to get everyone to pay attention to the work they do produce: the meta work of spreadsheets, specifications, presentations and status reports, failing to realize that to most in any organization, these are the least interesting and most bureaucratic things produced in the building. This mismatch of value sends the PM and his/her team into a downward spiral: the PM asking for more and more respect in ways guaranteed to push people further away.

I’ve hammered on this point again and again, but when you’re focused on “work vs. outcomes”, you’re consciously or unconsciously telling others that you’re not a business leader, you’re a technician.  Mastering your project’s business case and its elevator speech — and using it to describe your project instead of the issues log — will enhance your personal brand immensely.  As Scott notes:

Our culture does not think of movie directors, executive chefs, astronauts, brain surgeons, or rock stars as project managers…. The difference is these individuals would never describe themselves primarily as project managers. They’d describe themselves as directors, architects or rock stars first, and as a projects manager or team leaders second. They are committed first to the output, not the process.

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