I had a great talk with Erik at DARE2013 in June, not just about agile or lean, but about music. We both are bass players and project managers. And it somehow occured to us that there is a strong correlation between characteristics of a good project manager and the abilities of a great bass player.
Bass Players and Project Managers Pull Strings
And that’s not the only thing they have in common.
- When the bass player in a band suddenly stops collaborating, you’ll notice immediately. Although you don’t know what is happening, you feel intuitively that something is missing. The same is true for a project manager. Teams can work perfectly without a PM, but as soon as the guide drops during the project, things feel awkward.
- PMs and bass players shine in the shades. They’re not at the front of the stage, but out of the spotlights where they feel at their best. They wear no crowns and win no glory.
- When a bass player screws up and makes a mistake this has really bad consequences. Harmony is gone completely and the thing just doesn’t feel right anymore, just like when the project manager hits the wrong note.
- PM’s don’t (usually) seek attention, but stay in the background. There’s nothing more annoying than a soloing bass player. (The ultimate worst is a bass guitar slap solo)
- Good bass players and project managers are team players by default.
- A good bass player knows when not to play a note. A good pm should know when not to interfere and let his team self regulate and take responsibility.
Any other similarities? Let me know!