All the really good (read “expert”) project managers I know or have heard of have become so through years of experience, through which they have gained as much scar tissue as they have wisdom.
Must it always be so? Perhaps not.
Here is a recent article about research that seems to demonstrate otherwise.
Admittedly, this article does not purport to create experts (Level 5 on the Dreyfus scale of expertise).
But it does claim that it moved a number of participants from Novice or Advanced Beginner (Levels 1 and 2) to Intermediate or Competent (Levels 3 and 4). This acquisition of expertise in real life can typically require 10 years or more, not to mention at what cost of any failures or errors committed along the way.
Interestingly, when I mentioned this to a group of highly experienced consultants and project managers, most of whom were in their 40’s and early 50’s, my “news” was met with extreme skepticism. When I probed a bit deeper, the negative reaction stemmed from the perceived threat that their hard-won expertise might be discounted in the job market if younger people could come along so quickly and easily.
I imagine old-time airplane pilots scoffed at the first flight simulators too. Yet professional training at the highest levels now requires their use. Schools of Medicine and Nursing require training on simulated patients too, by the way.
I wonder when project management organizations are going to catch up? I wonder how many untimely "crashes" and "deaths" might be saved?