What Does Project Management Mean To Me

Adriana Girdler

A project manager’s sermon I’m thrilled to be a part of the first ever project management flash blog (#pmFlashBlog), where 70+ project management bloggers from around …

A project manager’s sermon

PM FlashMobI’m thrilled to be a part of the first ever project management flash blog (#pmFlashBlog), where 70+ project management bloggers from around the globe write about the same topic with all blogs being published simultaneously (Sept 25, 2013 at 1:00 GMT). I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

The questions put to all 70+ project management bloggers was ‘what does project management mean to me – a project manager’s sermon’. Lots of things pop into my mind. I could stand on my soap box and say that project management is an amazing discipline that ensures that projects are run efficiently resulting in happy team members and great results because a well-run project ensures that you’re on scope, on time, on budget and the end user of the project is completely happy and satisfied. I could say all this….oh…I just did (wink, wink).

On a serious note, I’m a big believer and supporter of project management as a discipline. So what does project management mean to me?  When I think of my experience running many types of projects both large and small it’s the consistency of the tools, methodology and dedication to execute those projects in a very structured and systematic way that have led to my project success over the years. It means when things veer off course, I can call upon my experience and project tools to get my team and the project back on track. It feels good to know whatever problem the project experience, we can fix it. Ultimately, we will be successful. I’m very passionate about project management because I have seen time and time again that when projects are run properly and use the PMI guidelines, how successful they are.  As a result, it’s sometimes difficult for me to work with organizations who don’t understand project management principles or the amount of work it takes to successfully execute a project with minimum issues. There are some organizations that actually feel that anyone can be a project manager and will give the role to any employee as an add-on to their current job activities.  In these situations, projects fail because the appointed employee couldn’t dedicate the time needed for project success because they’re too busy doing their job or just didn’t understand project management fundamentals to know what to do or ask of the project team resulting in a poorly run project. It’s sad to see this because it doesn’t have to be this way. In my opinion, a good project manager is a gift to the people involved with the project and to the organization. There is great value in using project management tools and in dedicating a project manager to a project. Why is this?

Like all things that need to be steered; ships, companies, projects etc.., you need a leader to chart it course. The value that a dedicated project manager, someone who will guide the project in the direction that it needs to go and to keep everyone on track with activities and commitments, saves organizations time and money. Project manager’s understand that the  execution part of the project is the easy part. Planning and preparing for a project is time consuming. But when the planning and preparation is done well because critical elements like resource loading, risk management,  and communication plans, to name a few, were examined, it sets the team up for smoother project execution. Knowing how to do this is a skill set that must be taught. It’s not inherit in everyone to think in this manner.

Project management and all its glorious tools and techniques is a discipline that ensures  projects are run efficiently and effectively. Time and money is precious so don’t waste it.  Project managers get it,  allowing project teams to work smarter while meeting the needs of the organization.

I would like to end by saying, as I step on up on my soap box, that a good project manager  guarantees  project success.

What does project management mean to you? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!


P.S. This post is published as part of a first ever project management related global blogging initiative to publish a post on a common theme at exactly the same time. Seventy four (74!) bloggers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA have committed to make a blogging contribution and the fruit of their labour is now (literally NOW) available all over the web. The complete list of all participating blogs is found here so please go and check them out!

Thanks For Sharing!

12 thoughts on “What Does Project Management Mean To Me”

  1. Hi Adriana,

    Thanks for this post. I really love the way you call out the eternal value of maintaining the PM discipline as a framework, in good times and bad. This is so valuable – it gives us that structure and confidence, but allows us to express ourselves and respond to different circumstances within that framework. I appreciate that message in your writing. Great advice for new and experienced practitioners alike.

    All the best, Tony

    • Hi Tony,

      Thank you for your comments on the post. I am glad it resonated with you. Project Management, as you know, is an amazing discipline that when used properly delivers quality projects time and time again.

      • It was good to read your thoughts on the topic. I thoughts on your comment on the consistency of the tools, methodology and dedication to execute and I feel it is one of the strong points on being a project manager. When I look at a situation I know, “there’s an app for that”, meaning there is, in the project professional community a resource available.

        As Tony says above, “structure and confidence”. In organization design I like to advocate people portion of change with the comment, “competence equals confidence” and project management is truly a vibrant community of practice that lends competence.

        Shim’s coordination around the #pmFlashBlog shows this and I was happy to add my view and learn from so many others.

        Thank you for the post,


  2. Adriana, thanks for taking part in the #pmFlashBlog initiative.

    As I am going through all submissions I am looking for observations worth noting and keeping in my ‘take-away’ basket.

    My take from your post is summed up in your following observation:

    “I’m a big believer and supporter of project management as a discipline”. As also noted by Tony Adams, there is more to project management than meets the eye and effective execution of project management requires experience and the ability to effectively utilize well defined tools and techniques.

    Cheers, Shim.

    • Shim,

      It was an honour and privilege to participate in the #pmFlashBlog. Thank you for creating and organizing the idea. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. You summed up my blog’s key take-away perfectly. Success of any project or activity, no matter what you do, is in using the right tools and following guidelines. For example, yes, you can drive a nail in a board using the handle of a screwdriver, but it’s easier and faster with a hammer. The same is with project management. Use the right tools and you’ll see success.

  3. Adriana, I really liked your post but I have to say I find it a lot of fun working in organisations that do not yet understand project management. It is nice to watch them as they embark on the journey and seeing others become infected by the project management way. Although it can be frustrating at the start if the organisation sticks with it they do start to deliver some great projects.

    • Barry, thank you for the compliment on my post. I appreciate it. I do agree with your statement that it’s wonderful to watch an organization embark on their project management journey. It’s like watching flowers grow in the spring time. The beauty of this is linked to the organization having acknowledged that they need project management disciplines, tools and techniques. So watching them grow is fun.

      The issue I have come across with some organizations is when they don’t learn from past experiences. Therefore, they make the same mistakes over and over leading to burnout and frustration for their employees.

      I realize that every organization is unique and each has its own journey regarding project management. By incorporating the disciplines of project management, organizations can start to grow and learn resulting in successful projects. Now that is fun!

  4. I really like your statement: “a good project manager is a gift to the people involved with the project.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t always feel like that! I think we could all come up with situations where we haven’t been as appreciated as we would like to have been in this role. I don’t agree, however, that a good project manager guarantees project success. I think it guarantees a good chance of success, but there are too many other external factors involved like a change in senior management or company direction that also have an impact over the project’s success. I’d like to think that we make all the difference in a PM role, but I just don’t believe we have the complete power and authority to see a project through to completion, every time.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad my statement “a good project manager is a gift to the people involved with the project” resonated with you. You are right , there are times when, as a project manager, we may not be ‘appreciated’. My statement was more from the perspective of the project team members. The gift that a good project manager (PM) gives is the leadership role the PM plays, the roadblocks they remove for the team and how they set up each team member for success. Project success is when the whole team feels included and listened to. A great PM knows this and uses it to move mountains during project life cycles. This is why a good PM is a gift to the people involved with the project.

      This leads me to ‘why’ I feel that a good project manager guarantees project success. Project success is not just about completing a project on time, on scope or on budget. It goes deeper than that. Project success can also include stopping a project because it doesn’t align with the organization’s goals and strategies. When a PM does this, they can save the organization time, money and people’s energy. It takes a lot of courage to do this. This is why a good project manager guarantees project success.

  5. Adriana, The observation you make about some organisations feeling anyone can be a project manager is one we’ve all come across. It is sad to see yet it continues to happen. So while I agree that the fundamentals of good project management practices can and do make a difference I’d also add that companies can achieve even greater benefit when their operating culture and business model recognises and values the very real value an experienced project manager can bring to the bottom line. Through that PM’s can really deliver successful project outcomes.

  6. What a wonderful post Adriana!
    Project Management is one of the most versatile disciplines indeed. What I like the most is that Project Management principles can and should be applied in practically everywhere – any organization regardless its maturity level or type of industry (and to Barry’s point sometimes it makes it even more fun 🙂 ). Project management fundamentals and tools can serve greatly any initiative in work and in life.

Comments are closed.

Photo of author

Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

SLAY Project Management

Online Course

5 Sections and 24 step-by-step HOW TO Videos! The only 5-hour on-line course that teaches you the PRACTICAL side of project management. This course will guide you step-by-step on HOW to successfully run a project and provides you with all the templates and tips you need to be successful.

Fab 5 Fundamentals

Free Training

Are you striving for successful projects, but get overwhelmed figuring out what elements of project management to focus on for the best results? In the Fab Five Fundamentals of Project Management, you’ll learn the five things you need to do on EVERY project to bring it to success.

Why Projects Fail?

Free Download

If you're new to projects or need a refresher, here's a guide of all the things I learned during my journey. Project success is about knowing how to navigate and stay clear of roadblocks, issues and problems. Understand the top 10 reasons why projects fail and how to avoid them.

Interested In Working Together?

We are business productivity experts. Contact us to learn how we can help your business become more efficient and increase profitability.

Join Our Newsletter

Join over 50,000 subscribers. Get the latest and the best in project management information delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow Us