Don't Task, Don't Tell

The third installment of my Projects@Work Unlearning Project Management series, Don't Task, Don't Tell, has been posted. Follow this link, (mildly annoying registration required.)

I wish I could claim credit for the snappy title, but that is the work of P@W's fine editor, Aaron Smith.

The picture accompanying this posting comes from the final exercise of our Mastering Projects Workshop, where after two and a half days deeply considering how projects work, participants are assigned a planning exercise where traditional Management By Planning approaches fail. Few groups fail to create meaning with this experience, and none who succeed do so in ways they imagined beforehand. This installment considers alternatives to Management By Planning.

The first two installments generated a lot of comments. This one hasn't. Don't know why, but I'll appreciate any bark-back you might feel moved to post there.

Here's a taste of the content:

"Management By Planning, carried to its naturally recursive root, enlists every member of a project’s community as a planning project manager, which is far from Fayol and Taylor’s original Management By Planning intent. Each interprets the plan they receive, producing a locally situated version. Whether the plan received is wise depends, again, upon the mindfulness of each situated planner. Whether the project manager is wise might depend more upon their ability to listen than their authority to dispatch pre-planned work assignments.

"In the Spanish viceroy system, a bureaucracy that lasted more than 500 years, each viceroy reported directly to the king. Communications being slow in those days, a dispatch from the king, responding to a viceroy’s report, could take more than a year to reach an individual viceroy. So, the viceroys adopted a simple rule for interpreting directions from the king — The King Is Wise. This rule encouraged each local viceroy to interpret the king’s direction in some way that would preserve the apparent wisdom of the king, even if this meant utterly changing his specific instructions."

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