A-2 The Project Manager’s Partner
Is an Attitude Adjustment Required?
Face it. You can’t be an expert in all fields. But with the proper attitude, you can make working
with experts a more pleasant and productive experience. Here are some attitudes or “mind
shifts” you should consider adopting when working with experts outside your area of expertise.
Think of yourself as a mere project facilitator, not the supreme, all-knowing project
commander. In this way, you won’t expect yourself to know everything about each
of the professions represented on the team.
As facilitator, expect to help people get resources when they need them and to lend
people a hand when they get stuck in administrivia. This doesn’t require expertise in
their field—you simply have to ask them what they need and figure out how to help
them get it.
Keep in mind that ignorance (lack of knowledge) is not the same as stupidity. You are
undoubtedly a successful, intelligent person. You simply lack knowledge in a particular
subject area.
Expect to learn some new things about the expert’s field, but expect to remain ignorant
of much of the field.
Remember that first and foremost you are responsible for achieving project deliverables
on time and within budget. You are most likely not responsible for knowing what the
experts know.
Readily (though not constantly) admit when you don’t know something. You’ll be
surprised how willing many experts are to become your teacher.

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