Is Project Management an Art or a Science?

The art of project managementIs Project Management an art, or a science? Or both?

If you’re an experienced project manager, you probably have managing projects down to a science. You’ve been doing this long enough that you have your favorite processes, methods, templates, and maybe even team members—because you’ve found what works. Or, maybe you feel that the projects and the work you manage are so risky, so changing, that it takes an artist to manage them well. And luckily, that’s what you are.

I loved this post by Adrian Lamond called, “The Art of Project Management,” that borrows this concept from quantum physics to demonstrate the science and art of project management:

“It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.”

Project management becomes an science and an art, Lamond says, when you can plan for every eventuality except one variable: the people factor. “Projects,” he says, “are only as fixed as the people that surround them.”

Lamond breaks it down this way: “The science of project management is the skill, and the art is the imagination.”

What do you think? Is it possible to have project management down to a science? Or do you have to become a “project artist” to be successful?

Comments are closed.