Drucker on the PMP

‘Management, in other words, is a practice, rather than a science or profession, although containing elements of both. No greater damage could be done to our economy or to our society than to attempt to professionalize management by licensing managers, for instance, or by limiting access to management positions to people with a special academic degree. … any serious attempt to make management “scientific” or a “profession” is bound to lead to the attempt to eliminate those “disturbing nuisances,” the unpredictabilities of business life — its ups and downs, its “wasteful competition,” the “irrational choices” of the consumer’ — Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management

Granted, Peter Drucker is talking about the practice of management and not project management. Granted, the PMP certification only attests to minimum of project management experience and knowledge of project management as documented in the PMBOK.

Nevertheless, project management is management applied to projects, project management is seen as a profession and the PMP is becoming a required certification (license) for project managers. This is especially true in IT.

The result is as predicted by Peter Drucker, ‘the attempt to eliminate those “disturbing nuisances,” the unpredictabilities of business life’.

The Agile Manifesto is clearly a reaction to the regimentation of project management:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Win Win Loyalty

Seth Godin’s post on how to treat your best customers made me think of two industries.

One industry has it so wrong that one member is advertising that it is treating them better by not treating them worse:

Frequent-flyer programs are a great example of how treating your best customers right is good business.

  • It is a differentiator for the full-service airlines when competing against the low-cost companies. Listen to frequent travellers speaking and you will hear them say that they will not travel on a low-cost airline yet without the advantages of frequent-flyer status the difference in service is minimal.
  • Frequent travellers get free upgrades when the economy section is overbooked and there are seats available in business class. This allows the airlines to maximize their revenue and avoid the costs of bumping a passenger. Additionally, the upgraded passenger will typically tell everyone they know about the upgrade and the service they got in business class.
  • Customers will spend more and make other efforts to get and keep the perks that go along with frequent traveller status.
  • Selling frequent-flyer miles to partners generates revenue.

The airlines have made the benefits of being a good customer something that people will spend extra for and most importantly have turned these customers into evangelists.