Every project manager needs management models.

Deliver that project is the cry, but how, I often hear? Much emphasis is placed on the use of different methodologies and quite right too. However, there are many tools and techniques that project managers and project teams should be using to help them deliver their projects effectively.

Step forward Mike Clayton who has written a very useful book called Management Models. This is part of the Pocketbook series. The book is well written and has a wide range of models that project managers and team members would find useful.

I spoke to Mike recently and asked him a range of questions.

What made you write this book?

I have always been interested in how we can get a straightforward prescription for how to get predictable results in life, and simple ways to understand what happens in complex environments – like work. At their best, management models provide these frameworks.

I wanted to write a book that looked at some of the very best models and explained them clearly, but in a way that the originators would have recognised. So many management books and trainers distort the originators’ ideas because we repeat what we have learned second and third hand. My intentions were clarity, simplicity, authenticity and, above all, utility.

Who is it aimed at?

The book is aimed at real managers, on the front line of the workplace, managing people day-to-day. But I’m a trainer, and I know that many of my peers could also use a resource like this to help them design their training.

The book is called management models; our audience is those engaged in projects. How do the two relate?

As I always point out when I’m training project managers: a project manager is not just responsible for her or his project; they are responsible for the people on their project too.

Project managers are front-line managers who need tools to sharpen your leadership, motivation, communication and time management. I have taught all of these ten models explicitly on a variety of project management and project leadership courses. Often these elements are highlighted at the end as some of the most valuable material. I think there is a lot of room for more “Project Leadership” training.

Which of the models would you suggest those engaged in projects should think about applying/learning?

All of them are relevant, but I’ll pick out four – two well-known by project managers; two less so.

Tuckman’s model of Group Development (Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing) is valuable to help us develop and grow our team, but if we add John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership, we can really get the best levels of productivity from our teams.

Less well-known to project managers, I suspect, is the idea of Power Bases. I think of this as a valuable resource when analysing project stakeholders.

Finally, outside the military (and I know that a lot of your readers are project managers with a military background), John Boyd’s OODA Loop is virtually unknown. All of your readers who have real project experience will, however, know of the importance of the monitor and control loop in project management. The OODA loop puts some real power behind this idea and will give your readers a deeper understanding of this vital discipline.

What do you see as the main application for management models?

Like all good models, an effective management model can be used for one of three purposes:
– to predict the outcome of your actions
– to explain what you have observed
– to achieve your desired result
Most project managers will be people of action, so I’ll guess that most of your readers will buy this book to get more of the third of these!

Click on the title to get your copy – Management Models Pocketbook its good value for money as well as being very useful.

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3 Responses to Every project manager needs management models.

  1. Lindsay says:

    I’ve read some of these Pocketbook series before and although they look like a little novelty item they are actually very good, good for dipping in and out of

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  3. Just like so many other things, there is no reason to waste time reinventing the wheel, someone else figured it out, it works very well, learn from that. Managing, running projects and keeping a team involved, working together and towards a common goal can be frustrating, but reading what other people, like Mike Clayton have successfully done is the building blocks needed to start any decent project. I think the bigger problem is finding what specific methods work best in any given environment, as projects often vary, thus the method used to manage them should adapt.

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