Is project management different from management?

Well actually it isn’t in my view. I believe that the “management “, is assumed.
If you look back to the origins of project management you will see why I say this.
Project management was introduced into organisations to handle a particular set of problems surrounding business change. The crux of the problem is that the shop must stay open and the customers must be served while the re-organisation goes on.
In this case the only way to get it done is to bring someone in from outside. There’s still a problem though, because every change demands the help support and decision making of different people involved in the day to day running of the business. The solution to this is a project manager who has CEO like authority to run the project and has a project board to help with the bigger decisions. Major decisions are made in advance and a strategy agreed, then the PM gets on with it. This works well in the main.
The main problems are gaining both buy-in and understanding of this process form the business initially so they get the most from it and know how and when to be supportive, or to stay out of it.
The most widely used framework for project management is Prince 2 and along with the framework it also provides guidance for a structured plan with a start, middle and end and some good practices like risk management, change control and managing basic documentation.
All of that is great and in some cases it can be seen to fill a void where little structure was agreed or understood in common previously, but what it utterly fails to do , and quite deliberately too, is to teach basic management.
Management still is and always will be about achieving goals through delegation, that means managing others and it requires skills just as important and just as structured as Prince 2, but starkly missing in the vast majority of practicing project managers in the profession today. The type of skills I am referring to, often referred to as soft skills are:
How to structure and mould a team so it will perform together, How to recruit people to attract and retain the best, How to motivate individuals to get the most out of them, How to present ideas, How to write reports and papers that will be read and deliver the intended message, how to build and maintain productive working relationships, how to negotiate.
In my view a project manager should also have hard skills and by this I mean real credibility in the area he is operating in. If he is delivering software, he should have credible knowledge of the software business, if he is managing a football team he should understand the off side rule.
In conclusion, Project management is about knowing how to structure and manage a project, but management is about people skills and taking responsibility for delivery in a specific domain that is well understood.

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