For a thankless job the success is not that noticeable while the failure is very obvious and with strong impact. Applying this in project management it results that in the case of success there is little evidence that the manager had any merits while in case of failure the manager gets all the blame.
This is the conclusion that Ike Maboe also reached in a LinkedIn post on the Project Management Expert group. According to him “Project management is a thankless job, everybody wants the glory when the project succeeds and the project manager gets the blame when it fails!” And it is nothing more true than that.
But beside the fact that project management is a thankless job it is also a difficult job. Many problems need to be solved when managing projects and these are not easy ones. It all starts with a good project plan. The planning phase of the project is the most important one and if well done it will make life a lot easier for that lucky manager. At this stage arise questions like: are tasks correctly stated, are there enough resources for every task? Optimized planning is necessary for best results: for example how can we use limited resources most effectively? And this is not an easy job to do although using project management software with resource leveling capabilities helps a lot.
Things go further and can become even more complicated once the project is started. Managers need to control how the progress affects the plan and conclusions must be taken to avoid already encountered problems for the future.
Bottom line is that project management is a difficult job and as a project manager the “thank you” words for your efforts and hard work are kind of missing… But are there just not spoken or they do not exist at all? More than probably everyone from team members, clients, stakeholders etc. appreciate your work just that they do not say it, they forget to mention it. A simple “Thank you for keeping things on track!” would be just great. The strange thing is that they do not forget to blame you when the project fails or goes wrong.
That’s the life for a project manager!