(5) – Project Manager

Meme – Project Managers

Project Managers are still needed to provide structure to work on complex projects.

Small projects can be run with by an energized and driven leader (e.g. and Action Hero).    A handful of team members can coordinate and integrate work on the fly, responding to challenges as they occur. 

This model begins to break down when the project grows in scale.  There are too many parts and too many dependencies .   Traditional project management techniques, such as Work Breakdown Structures, Project Plans, and Work Breakdown Structures are needed to organize work in a reasonably productive way.   

Unfortunately, this well planned organization and control is not sufficient to deal with the challenges in the complex dynamic chaos of cross enterprise innovation.     The ACT Team Model resolves this dissonance by defining two roles.  An Action Hero that deals with dynamic adaptive problem solving and a Project Manager that applies structured skills to bodies of work.

In essence the Project Manager is empowered to create the best possible plan for organizing the work on hand.  They work with the Craftspersons on the team to deliver tangible results within a schedule.

Meanwhile the Action Hero provides broad coverage of unexpected and cross team problems that the Project Manager seeks to ignore as they build a plan with limited complexity.  

Action Heroes – Identify project gaps.  Fix unexpected problems.  Demand cross team collaboration.   Value action.

Project Managers – Structure work.  Provide guidance to daily work.  Coordinate planned effort.    Value structured plans.

 Ideally this collaboration allows each role to focus on a perspective and skill set well suited to their particular challenges . 


Project Managers are not the entire solution, but they are part of the solution.  

Good Reads: 

Brainstorming Questions

  • Is there someone empowered to make sure that things don’t fall through the gaps during project execution?
  • Is there someone empowered to demand collaborative action and solutions?
  • Is there someone empowered to veto local, expedient solutions that don’t serve the project vision?
  • Is the Action Hero role staffed with a person with a passion for action?
  • Does the Action Hero have a functioning relationship with the Project Managers?
  • Is the Action Hero focused on the final business goal of the initiative?

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