Posted by: kerrywills | June 3, 2011

Project Managers should have degrees in psychology

As Project Managers we spend all of our days interacting with people whether it is getting updates from team members, following up with other people, and presenting information to stakeholders. Spending this much time with people means working with different personalities and I have come to realize that everyone has issues (I don’t need to remind people of mine – just read my blog postings on OCD,  anxiety, impatience, etc).

I feel like I spend a portion of my day similar to a psychiatrist’s day…

  • Guiding people through the psychological ups and downs of projects
  • Consoling people who got a management beat down
  • Dealing with interpersonal issues between team members
  • Listening to venting and complaining about people, management, processes, etc.
  • Getting updates from people’s home lives, relatives, siblings, children, etc.
  • Discussing with people their career aspirations

I am a strong believer in building close relationships with people at work, which also means getting to know people at a personal level.  I think we should look to add psychiatric skills to the PM competency and possibly even move a couch into our offices. Now how does that make you feel?


  1. Good post. My experiences are similar. The additional complexity is that what works for some doesn’t for others 🙂

  2. Amen !

  3. […] Kerry Wills thinks project managers should have degrees in psychology.  Of course, Kerry has previously self-diagnosed his own OCD,  anxiety, and ADD … […]

  4. This makes me feel relieved. This is a just and astute observation. Understanding people is essentially 75% of what I seem to be doing these days. The question is, why can’t PMs get those nice offices that Psychologists have? Now how does THAT make you feel?

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