Project managers are only as good as their relationships with the people on the team. No matter how brilliant or knowledgeable the PM is, his value is determined by how well he can apply those traits to the project through other people. For example, because programmers and testers do most of the actual work, any value the PM adds has to be through those people. This doesn't mean micromanaging them or becoming an expert in those skills; it's about seeing the PM role as amplifying the value of those other workers in any way possible.
The challenge is in how to do it. Every time I've given a lecture or taught a course on project management and convinced a group of this point, someone invariably raises her hand and asks: "So, how do I amplify their value? I understand that it's something I should do, but how do I go about doing it without annoying the crap out of them?" This is a fair question. Few people come to work wanting to be amplified or to have some person they might not like involved in their daily business. The answer is in understanding relationships. There is no one-size-fits-all way to add value. It depends on the person you're dealing with and what expectations have been set for the roles that person will play.
"The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals."
—Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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