One of Alec Baldwin’s key lines in Glengarry Glen Ross is the line he spits out to the sales team: “Always be closing”. No, this article is not about to draw comparisons between project managers and shady salespeople – at least not those that try to follow PMI’s Code of Ethics.
What it does get me thinking about is the simplicity of that three-letter acronym “ABC” – if we had to boil project management down to a single word, which would best represent our multi-faceted profession?
My vote is for Communicating – after all, we are taught in most foundation PM courses that communication represents the lion’s share of what PM can be distilled to (whether or not you subscribe to the 90% rule).
Think back to the last project you worked on that got into trouble – I’m betting that a contributing cause as well as a key solution to the issues could be traced to communications.
This is why our profession is both an art and a science – were it purely science, a computer could plan and execute a complex project perfectly well. One of the more interesting episodes from the first seasons of Star Trek is The Galileo Seven – it illustrated that putting a logic-driven, seemingly emotionless individual in charge of a group of human beings did not always result in cooperation or optimal problem solving.
How about some other choices? None really comes close to distilling what we do as well as communicating, but you could consider: controlling (only if you are a megalomaniac), calming (you’re a PM, not a psychologist) or collaborating (good try, but that’s just one way to get to a decision).