You’re the Project Manager …

Yeah, I’ve heard it a few times now, and it usually follows perhaps an obvious question that I have either not – or not yet – asked, but the insinuation is that it’s not the job of the person you’re in conversation with, rightly or wrongly.

But being the Project Manager does not mean you know everything, everyone or SHOULD know everything or everyone; as much as it would be really useful sometimes.

As you might work out I was told this past week “you’re the project manager” following a tough conversation on what needed to be done in a certain scenario and it got me thinking: should I really know this?

I have worked many project through planning, troubleshooting, reviews, final planning and then through implementation and most of the time, I have just about the right amount of knowledge along the way. I say “just the right amount” as information overload is really quite likely in large, prolonged or complex projects (or changes) and so you have to work out what to consume and what to reply on other to know. Now, saying that, there’s no assumption they will know, but between you, it can be worked out what’s known and what you need know. Still with me?

I am of the opinion that as early on the in a project it’s important to work out who your “go to” boys and girls are. This is important for 2 reasons; simple you need subject matter experts, you just do, and secondly, any PM needs to try and not be the bottle neck for information flow. I always encourages teams to “go to source” when working things through.

So, yes as much as you might be the project manager, you’re not meant to know everything about a project, change or task. You have a team of people who are desperate to be consulted and involved and who have value in input to planning.

Together you know everything. (Because the stuff you don’t know, you’ll either find out by finding out, or you’ll find out by mistake.)