Clarity on the Role of Microsoft Dynamics NAV Project Managers
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had a great comedy act where they would do their humorous “Who’s on First” exchange. The skit has an exchange between Costello, a peanut vendor named Sebastion Dinwiddle, and Abbott who is Dexter Broadhurt, the manager of the mythical St. Louis Wolves.
The premise of the routine is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team to Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. In this context, the first baseman is named "Who"; thus, the utterance "Who's on first" is ambiguous between the question ("which person is the first baseman?") and the answer ("The name of the first baseman is 'Who'")
Sometimes talking with Dynamic professionals about project management and the role of the project manager is like talking to Bud Abbott about who’s on first. At times it can be very frustrating and other times, like the Abbott and Costello skit, it can be downright hilarious. I have seen the role of project manager described as anything from a person who tracks tasks, to a short order cook.
I would like to add clarity as to the role of project manager on Dynamics projects. The first point I will make is that the project manager is accountable to the client executive sponsor for the success of the project. Just like Harry S. Truman said when he made the statement “the buck stops here”, the project manager is the person on the hook for the success and result of the project, and no one else. There are other people in important roles on the project, but no one else is accountable for the success of the project.
The second point is that there is only one project manager on a project. Accountability is reserved for only one person, not two or three individuals. I often hear someone say “the partner has a project manager and the client has a project manager.” How can a project be effectively managed when there is joint accountability for the project? This would be like saying “There are two CEOs at Apple computer.” Joint accountability does not work in the real world; do not pretend that it does.
Accountability and authority walk together hand-in-hand. Therefore, if a project manager is accountable for the results of a project, then the project manager should also have authority to make decisions that affect the outcome of the project. I often hear the twisted statement “the client, and not the project manager will decide on what work is to be performed and how the work will be executed on the project”. When a project manager is granted authority through the project charter for a project, then the project manager also has been granted authority to make project decisions.
The third point is that the project manager needs to manage all of the six project constraints of time, budget, scope, risk, quality, and resources. Many people forget that there are more than just time and budget on a project that needs to be managed.
The final point is that the success of a project is based upon the project manager’s ability to manage projects to meet the goals and objectives of the project, as defined by the project charter. So often, I hear Dynamics project managers say that delivering on-time and on-budget is the success factor for a project, it is not. The reality of the situation is a project is only successful when business value has been delivered through the achievement of the project’s business goals and objectives.