Project management is a role that is heavily defined by the nature of teams, projects, and customers. It is a role that is heavily impacted by the outcomes of each, and how each of these is managed and handled by a project manager. In addition to organization, analyzing, and managing multiple areas of a project, customer, or team—and the different individual personalities—there is also the large realm of psychology behind project management.
We’ve discussed in previous articles the different personalities behind project management, and even how the realm of project management is evolving more and more into a science. So what does this mean for the psychology behind project management? Especially since psychology itself is indeed a science. This means that project managers need to have an open mind when it comes to communicating with others, keeping in mind how another may interpret something—whether in an email or face-to-face conversation—how other team members, vendors, or customers may work, their learning styles, and their strengths and weaknesses.
This is just the psychology behind dealing with people. There is also the psychology behind projects themselves that project managers must study. This is where the real, nitty gritty of organizational, analytical, and detail-oriented skills come into play. A project manager spends a great deal of time and effort identifying and analyzing project risks (what risks could potentially impact the success or overall outcome of a project? What risks could damage or impact the work breakdown structure?), customer requirements (what client wants versus what he or she actually asks for…), and even analyzing the best methodologies and strategies to going about a particular project.
In addition to the psychological areas behind project management that we just discussed, there is yet another element: creativity. Creativity is in fact a crucial characteristic behind project management. Project managers who look at projects and interpret specifications from an “out of the box” point of view or stand point are some of the most successful. This helps project managers to reach to clients on a different level and even pose ideas and solutions to their project ideas, specifications, or concerns. Project managers can also creatively work with teams and solve problems.
So is it true that project management is in fact an art and science looped into one? This could very well be the case. Project management is a unique role that factors in skills that are located on both sides of the brain. These skills include analytical, reasoning, quantitative, and even creativity. The truth is, each unique and individual project has his or her own psychological and methodological approach to taking on and managing projects, teams, and customers.
This is why project management is such a firm but yet flexible role, which involves both disciplined and documented work break down structures, policies, and procedures, but yet is also creative and open-minded with interpretations and problem-solving. What’s your project management psychological approach?