When people see something impressive—a bridge arching high over a canyon, a space probe touching down on a distant planet, a graceful curlicue ramp on a freeway, a motion picture (so real you think you ’ re there!), or a nifty computer the size of your hand—they wonder “ how did they do that? ” By they , of course, they are referring to the creators, designers, and builders, the people who thought up and actually made those things. Seldom do they wonder about the managers , the people who organized and lead the efforts that brought those wondrous things from a concept or idea into reality and without whose talent, skills, and hard work most neat ideas would never amount to anything. This book is about the managers—project managers, the mostly unsung heroes of business and technology who stand outside the public eye but are behind practically every collective effort to create, develop, or produce something.
Although the project manager is but one of numerous people involved in the shaping of each of society ’ s products, systems, and artifacts, he (or she) is usually the one in the middle, the one who gets all of the others involved and then organizes and directs their efforts so everything will come out right. Sometimes, though rarely, the manager and the creator happen to be the same: Burt Rutan, Woody Allen, and Gutzon Borglum are examples; their life work—in aerospace, motion pictures, and monumental sculptures, respectively—represent not only creative or technological genius, but leadership and managerial talent as well.