Big Love – The Lucky Guy with 4 WivesMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
“Inside story of a Project Manager”
Its profoundly hazardous social policy but a Project Manager is likely having 4 wives, everybody envy him and wishes they could also be like that. On the other side of the coin, all the 4 wives (Customer, Executive Management, Team and Family) are never happy with the Project Manager and mostly this marriage (project) becomes ultimate battleground.
Once I conducted a survey to review the preferred career path of the employees as working in a Software Development company and as much as 90% of them responded that they would like to advance in their career as Project Manager. Most of the employees also believed that being a Project Manager is the ultimate position they can achieve in their careers especially if they are not running their own company.
Over the years, I have got the same kind of response from other professionals, especially the ones that are in the earlier years of their professional careers. It is fact that the life of a Project Manager does seems very attractive and tempting from the outside. Everyone just wants to be the “Lucky guy with 4 wives” but the really is very much different. Most of the people don’t realize what it really means to be that “Lucky Guy” known as the Project Manager.
In reality, its other way around. The Customers are always complaining about the requirements, deliverables, open bugs, costs and delays etc. The reason for that is that the Project Manager is considered, by customer, to be responsible for all that stuff and every single item related to the project.
Similarly, the Executive Management is always demanding results from the Project Manager and at the same time the deliverables are expected to be of the highest quality in the time and scope of the liking of the Management. The Project Manager, most of the time, is expected to show positive progress despite shortage of resources and is expected to work out in all critical situations all by itself.
When it comes to the team, they are always expecting a great work-life balance in the planning by the Project Manager. They are most of the time complaining about the work load and working overtime or on weekends despite the fact they are paid extra for that effort. The team is also very “sensitive” in taking any blame for any delays despite the fact they themselves gave the estimates and any delay occurring due to rework because of the bugs. The fact remains that these bugs were due to their some fault or ignorance in their own work and not due to the Project Manager. The team is also blames the Project Manager for any below expectation annual appraisal or bonuses which is mostly based on the company policy and decisions of the Executive Management.
The actual “wife”, the family is complaining the Project Manager for always being too busy and engaged with work, both physically and mentally. The family, rightly so, is complaining about the Project Manager working at odd hours and being engaged in work, one way or the other, at times when Project Manager is supposed to giving time and focusing on family.
The whole point of the discussion is to summarize the sacrifices the “Lucky Guy” has to make to achieve success in the project which unfortunately goes unnoticed by majority of people. In a normal social life this might be injurious to the mental health of wife but here it is definitely having negative effects and harmful patterns on Project Manager’s mind, health and life. Cross continental projects even have more fuel to burn as all 4 wives even not sleep at the same time, one or two of them always active to catch you. On the ‘slippery slope’ of this Big Love, ‘Luck Guy’ have to have pay the major of the emotional cost for the project success. However, defenses of this ‘Lucky Guy’ are relatively unconvincing because Responsibility and Accountability is the vows or this marriage/relation (Project).