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Organizational Insight – Gantthead Articles by Mark Mullaly

May 3, 2011

In his Gantthead bio, Mark Mullaly is referred to as a “Project Management Iconoclast”.  Not completely sure of what an iconoclast is, I tracked down the definition.  (See below)

i·con·o·clast [ahy-kon-uh-klast]



a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for religious veneration.


a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.
Mark Mullaly, CEO and founder of Interthink, has decades of experience in Project Management.  He is a regular contributor to Gantthead.  The two articles I have referenced below remind us how important it is for Project Managers to understand the organizations in which they work and the political networks within those organizations.  In “Great Expectations, Mullaly reviews important items we must understand about the organization such as risk tolerance, attitudes toward innovation and collaboration, respect for internal and external expertise, the acceptability of sharing resources, as well as communication methods and techniques.
In “Navigating Organizational Politics”, Mullaly calls organizational politics “a fundamental reality”.    An organization’s political environment is a influenced by the values, beliefs, biases and expectations of its constituents.  The Project Manager must effectively manage the influence this environment has on their project(s).  As I wrote in a previous post, politics within an organization is simply “business as usual”.

Great Expectations

Navigating Organizational Politics

A few questions to get you thinking:

  • What is your organization’s attitude toward risk and risk tolerance?
  • How does your organization value innovation and collaboration?
  • Is it acceptable to share resources across the organization?
  • Does your organization value internal expertise? External expertise?
  • How is communication managed throughout the organization?
For the bonus round, do your organization’s mission, vision and goals reflect these values?
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