I have a good friend who’s an experienced data architect. Since I write about IT project management all the time, I recently asked him if he’d ever consider a PM job. To this he replied: “No way.”
I probed further about his rationale, and we came up with these five reasons why he dislikes project management and project managers and tries to steer clear of the profession whenever possible.
Project Managers are too structured
While every IT project team can benefit from some structure, my friend feels that PMs in general err on the side of micromanagement. They create cost and hourly estimates for tasks and then hold employees to them even when the scope of the project or the needs of the client change. “A lot of PMs act like it’s all about them and their process,” my friend says. “But we are the ones closer to the work and what actually needs to be done, so sometimes they just need to back off.
Project Managers are always justifying their existence
Remember last year’s post based on a LinkedIn discussion questioning whether PM was an actual title/legitimate job? My friend says that the majority of his interactions with PMs involve creating useless frameworks around work that’s already being done fairly seamlessly. “PMs always seem to be doing busywork,” he says. “There are loads of reports, documents, and charts that don’t do anything except show that the PM is working.”
Project Managers are meeting happy
PMs call too many meetings and spend too much time tasking every aspect of every project. “Here’s the thing,” my friend says. “We data architects are generally assigned six hours a day for development, and get to spend the remaining two hours doing meetings, phone calls, emails, and admin. But PMs’ meetings are so frequent and long that they are always cutting into development time. Of course, then they complain that we didn’t finish our tasks in the allotted hours.”
Project Managers don’t communicate openly
Have you ever heard the stereotype about teachers that says: “those who can’t do, teach.” The same is said to be true about PMs. Some assume that people become PMs because they weren’t skilled enough to be developers and as a result are insecure. They guard their power carefully and hold their cards close to the vest when threatened or stressed. “A lot of PMs won’t share the big picture with the team, so we might finish a task and be sitting there with no idea what to do next,” my friend tells me.
For the rest of the post, check out the QuickBase Fast Track blog.