A bad project management shirtThe other day I was shown some targeted marketing for a T-shirt on my Facebook feed. The T-shirt was geared toward senior project managers (which is something I’d listed in my work experience). This is what it said:

Senior Project Manager: We do precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge

I see where the T-shirt maker was going with this, but it frustrated me to think there are project managers out there who might share this attitude. In my opinion, it is a poor project manager that questions the knowledge of the people on his or her team. That’s because as a project manager, you aren’t outputting a whole bunch of project deliverables on your own. It is your team that is doing the majority of the work on project deliverables. If you don’t trust the knowledge of your team members, and if you can’t find ways to work with them to provide reliable project data, then you’re going to be a pretty poor project manager.

It’s crucial as a project manager to get to know and appreciate your team’s strengths and weaknesses and to learn to work with your team members to create a schedule for deliverables that your team is realistically able to accomplish. If the data that you are receiving from your team members is unreliable, then it’s up to you to find ways to help your team members provide reliable data. The same principle applies when it comes to working with customers or clients. If your clients are providing you with unreliable data, then you should work with them to provide realistic data that will allow you and your project team to get the expected work done in a predictable and efficient manner. This will make everybody happy…. except for maybe the T-shirt makers.