Servant or Provider of Project Services. Which are you?

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Unfortunately, the project management methodologies available have inadvertently created many servants rather than effective project service providers. What does this mean and what is the difference? The following descriptions may help.

Servant Provider
Does what the sponsor requests without question or challenge Forms a well-considered view of all issues and shares that view with the sponsor for debate and decision development. Sees themselves as a co-decision maker
Requests decisions of others in areas where it is unreasonable to expect an informed decision Informs herself/himself of the issues and consequences and presents decisions for a formal agreement
When a sponsor or other stakeholder makes a suboptimal decision, it is accepted despite knowing it will lead to a poor outcome Actively debates with the sponsor or other stakeholders to ensure the right decision is made. If not, agrees and records a risk that is allocated to the decision-maker to manage
Exclusively focuses on managing the process with the outcome being a bonus Focus more on managing the outcome using process to achieve that goal
Accepts things such as project control board membership and other decisions as constraints outside of their control. Takes what they are given Active and co-decision maker in the orchestration of the right participants of project control board, stakeholders and project team members. Ensures the right conditions for success are in place
Learning is limited with a focus on the tasks of the project manager Learns from many sources and topics both technical and human dynamics with the goal to achieve project excellence in many domains

Those that fit the Servant I encourage you to reframe your role. You need to step into a different paradigm and invest in your personal development. This means taking on a leadership posture and co-owner of the project with the Sponsor. If not, the role of PM will be downgraded with consequences to income.

How to make the switch? Firstly, decide that you will make the switch. Get a PM coach that will challenge you to do so. Build your resilience and comfort in uncomfortable situations/ conversations. Build skills to ask deeper questions that challenge common wisdom. Start reading widely and picking up tips from others. But above all form and hold an informed view on all things related to your project.

Servant or Project Service Provider? It’s your choice!

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