Humanability - it's all about people

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Posted by APM on 21st Nov 2013

The People SIG is back up and running!  Activities kick off with a webinar on the 10th December on the subject of humanability.  It is the title of a chapter in new book from Gower - The Handbook of People in Project Management. The chapter has been written by People SIG member Paul Girling so we asked him to tell us a bit more.

Paul, humanability is all about the people aspect of projects why write the chapter now?

We have gone through five years of austerity (with more to come). I believe it has eroded optimism, discouraged creativity and empowerment because its better to play it safe and follow the rules. Yet people are the best resources any organisation has. Most of our companys work is about getting the best out of people, so we want to challenge the negativity and encourage managers to focus on their people.

The chapter is in the new Gower Handbook of People in Project Management can you tell us what the book sets out to do?

Modern projects are about one group of people delivering benefits to others, so the human element is fundamental to project management. The book is a guide to the human dimensions of projects. It is rich compilation of over 60 chapters about the full range of project management roles that are essential to project success. It looks at the people-issues associated with different sectors, the organization and roles of people in projects, the relationships between people, and the human behaviours and skills associated with working collaboratively.

I think people will find it an innovative handbook.  It discusses all the important topics associated with employing, developing and managing people for successful projects.
The contributors have been drawn from around the world and include experts ranging from practising managers to academics and advanced researchers. (Im extremely pleased to be classed as an expert!)

You are challenging a focus on process, but can the two approaches go hand in hand?

Of course they can; they are not mutually exclusive. However the adherence to processes is the safe way and can go against our nature. We are, after all, social, cooperative animals. Furthermore, during our ethical development, we learn to rebel against rules. We advocate empowerment and fulfilment; they dont necessarily fit with processes.

If you could give one piece of advice to project managers based on your chapter what would it be?

Focus on the people and follow our RESPECT acronym:

  • Relationships
  • Empathy
  • Sincerity
  • Principles
  • Empowerment
  • Compassion
  • Trust

This is something that I will be talking more about in the webinar.

APM has a vision of a world where all projects succeed, how do you think this concept can contribute to that?

I am not denigrating the need for project structure, order and objectives but of course projects are delivered by people for people. We are advocating RESPECT for people and making ethical decisions. How can that not contribute to project success?

 Listen to the recording of the webinar here.

Find out more about the Gower Handbook of People in Projects here.

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