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International Prince2 User Forum :: View topic - The Apprentice & Project Management
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The Apprentice & Project Management

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Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 17
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: The Apprentice & Project Management Reply with quote

There's no doubt that The Apprentice (bbc.co.uk/apprentice/) is a gripping programme and full of good business lessons.

But a few things are starting to annoy me.

The first is that they use the term 'project manager' for the team leader. Can a three day task which includes a one day 'event' really be a project?

The second was in last night's episode - (5) The Art of Selling - the candidates were tasked with making and selling sweets at London Zoo. The main criticism of the losing Project Manager was that he should have gone more hands-on. The PM (Adam) chose to wear a Lion's outfit to attract people to their stand and so that he could keep an eye on how the rest of his team were performing. A commendable strategy in my view.

But, Sir Alan Surgar, his aide, and the CEO of Woolworth's (Trevor Bish-Jones) were unanimous in their view that as the most qualified sales person in the team Adam should have spent less time in the lion's outfit and more time as part of the sales team. I find this strange. I bet Woolworth's shareholders would be less than impressed if Trevor Bish-Jones abandoned his management team and headed along to operate a till at one of his stores. Likewise, what separates Sir Alan from Clive Sinclair is that he governs his business rather than participating in the engineering activity of his company's products.

I was wondering what % of time do you think project managers should spend 'doing' some part of the project compared to 'managing'?

Is there a % that's too little or too high?

Andy Murray - Lead Author PRINCE2 Refresh

Outperform - Bids, Projects, Programmes - The Accredited Consulting Organisation
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Joined: Feb 12, 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the main, I could not agree more. I feel that the term 'Project Manager' is an over used commodity.

However, on the basis that a project be defined as "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a product or service" , and the team leader has overall responsibility and liability for the success or failure of the project, then the term is correctly used. Hoever, I understand that this detracts from those of us that have spent years refining the artform, and spend a good deal of effort managing complex projects over a longer period.

I cannot comment on the second opinion...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: back to the floor!!!!??? Reply with quote

in relation to your comment that Trevor Bish-Jones should not contemplate a return to the coalface to see the operation from the other end of the spectrum - I totally disagree. Remember the BBC program - back to the floor headed by Harvey-Jones?

Top exec's returning to the frontline in their respective enviroments to undserstand the key issues faced by the operation...

This in all cases provided an insight to the operation that they had lost or never had in the first place and better enabled the decision making process from the boardroom. I belive more senior managers should not be afraid to complete this activity - I know of several organisations that have seen this through, and I know an IT Director that regularly returns to the frontline to assess how technology can be best used in the environment, and how this can be harnessed to aid the business objective.

If done correctly, this can be an invaluable tool - but the key to success is in the management of the program - it has to be led from the top, and have the full buy in of all the board members and operation for an honest and frank excahnge of problems and ideas...

food for thought...
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