Why Gonzo PM?

Gonzo journalism is subjective journalism. The journalist doesn’t even pretend to be objective or detached from the story. The journalist participates in the story and documents it.
So, gonzo project management is getting involved – being part of the team, not merely a management overseer. In some ways an arbitrator to work between management and the team but most of the time being the team member responsible for keeping the train on the track. Yes, objectivity is still required for the project manager to be the “glue” that joins the team and management and other stakeholders but there is the subjectivity of having a stake in the success of the project. As the Agile folks like to put it, being a pig not a chicken.
This has been my style since I first became a project manager. For a long while it bothered me that I was never “in” with management as much as I was close to the team. Now, I see this as one of my strengths.
I once had a team member describe me as being his “boss”. This took me aback because when I’m planning, I go to the experts for input – the team. When I publish a schedule I am simply telling them to do what they told me needed to be done. Yes, I structure and schedule the activities but it is they who come up with those activities. My biggest contribution is helping them identify how the project objectives can be met.


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