Entrepreneur’s Diary #66 What Exactly Is – Projekct Management? (An Attempt at Definition – II)

Jens Hoffmann wrote an article on Artikel – and instigated an intense discussion.

Projects Have a Detrimental Effect on the Health of Your Enterprise!

🙂 For me, his article was a motivation to do greater things. Well, let us look and see…

My first attempt (Versuch) at defining project management by reading it up on wikipedia did not really render satisfying results. So here is another approach of mine…
There are various ways of tackling a term that is hard to define:

  • If it is a German term, I look for synonyms – which is particularly easy today.
  • If it is a foreign word in the classicalsense, I try to find the original meaning in Greek or Latin. In order to do that, I need some help from a humanist who knows Greek and Latin (because I do not).
  • If it is an Anglicism, I just look it up in the dictionary.

Well, so here is what it says on leo.org or dict.cc on project management. There are many translations for to manage:

• administrieren • auskommen • beaufsichtigen • bedienen • besorgen • bewältigen • bewerkstelligen  • bewirtschaften • erledigen • fertig werden • fertigbringen • führen • gelingen • handhaben  • leiten • lenken • managen • manipulieren • regeln • schaffen • steuern  • verwalten • zurecht kommen • zustande zubringen • zuwege bringen • zwingen •

In connection with other words, I also find

• ein Geschäft führen • ein Geschäft leiten • ein Unternehmen leiten • ein Konsortium leiten • Geldreserven verwalten • Gelder verwalten • es schaffen • mit etwas auskommen • kontokorrentmäßig führen • mengenmäßig führen • Menschen führen • Menschen leiten • etwas aufkriegen • mit etwas behelfen • mit weniger auskommen • die Arbeitsumgebung bereitstellen und aufrechterhalten • sich selbst verwalten • inszenieren •

Ok, so this is all part of “managing“. I am getting closer to understanding the term management. Now let us look up project. Project can be both a verb or a noun. For the noun, I find:

• Entwurf • Plan • Projekt • Projektierung • Vorhaben •

Remembering my wikipedia research, I get a little confused. Didn’t they say a project should lead an endeavor towards a goal? So we are looking for an endeavor in the endeavor… Something must be wrong. It looks like a limes by infinite definition … In programming, you call it “dead lock” …
( Please pardon my occasional silliness – I like to think you identify it as a jest)

But even here, I see that a project is somethng planable. Consequently, project management might be a pleonasm (Pleonasmus)or a  tautology (Tautologie). That would mean I could remove one of the words – like with “free gift”. You can do without the word free, because a gift is already free by definition. For project management, it would mean I can remove the word project.

And, indeed, a project is probably the only thing you cannot manage. I can manage a building, a train, a computer centre, a market place, an enterprise … basically everything. Perhaps even a marriage or other partnership. Or something worse. But a project?

Maybe we need totally different organizational forms in a “new world“? We might well be heading towards challenges that call for fundamentally new strategies. Perhaps we need them just for our survival. Wasn’t this how we know it to have been for many millennia of human history? When you had to regulate and be responsible for everything together? It might just be that…

In my next article, I will try to think about the impact of management on our contemporary concept of humanity/society. Or maybe about the question if we really have to distinguish between private and social management. Or if, perhaps, it all forms a unit. Live is life

Except that I will no longer talk about project management. This term is too obscure for my liking. In the future, I will just talk about management…

(Translated by EG)

Jester’s Question:

What is the difference between a brimstone butterfly and a project manager?
The brimstone butterfly knows it is not made of stone at the brim…

You can find all the articles of my enterpreneurs diary if you click here: Drehscheibe

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