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jobspot Project managers: a resented breed

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Not that long ago project managers did not exist or were mercifully rare, confined to specialist projects where an average architect could not be expected to grasp the full complexity of the client's requirements. The rise to power of the PM coincided with the demise of the clerk of works, and the architect, accordingly, moved down the professional pecking order.

Architectural jokes are hard to find and funny ones are like hens'teeth, but the reasons for the gnawing resentment that architects feel about what PMs (don't) do are expressed in the various answers given to the question: 'What's the difference between a project manager and a shopping trolley?'

A: 'A shopping trolley has a mind of its own. '

Unlike the member of the older profession, who makes carefully judged decisions about what would best serve the client's needs, then ties themself in knots trying to make the client come to the same conclusion, the PMwrites the client a few inquiring faxes and presses for a decision.

Where is the skill in that?

A: 'You can get more food and drink into a project manager. '

Whereas architects were once welcome lunch guests for clients and at Christmas received small tokens from contractors, PMs hog clients' corporate entertainment budgets and contractors' discreet inducement funds.

Phone one during Royal Ascot and, if they deign to answer, you will hear thundering hooves in the background.

A: 'Shopping trolleys are found at the bottom of canals all too often, project managers all too rarely. '

Hurtful, but if you have just had your fees slashed and been told that the PMwill review your certificates before issue you will recognise the sentiment.

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