Professor Marco Sampietro takes humor seriously. In fact, Sampietro takes it so seriously that he’s written a book titled Empowering Project Teams, in which he dedicates some time to exploring the effect of humor on project management. In an article for Business Standard, Rakesh Rao interviews Sampietro about his fixation for the funnies, among other meaningful topics.
A Situation and its Fellows
The focus of Sampietro’s book revolves around situational project management and team fellowship. Each different project defines its own project environment. The more concentrated a project is, the more emphasis is placed on expertise. The more varied a project is, the more critical it is to unify the team, though each member shares little in common skills-wise. In sum, each project situation is different and requires a different managing of its fellows.
Research Points to Humor
Sampietro says that the PM’s responsibility has shifted away from planning and execution to focus more squarely on coordination. Effective communication is essential to coordination, and this is precisely where humor comes into play:
Based on my and other research works, I can say that humour can have positive effect on project management. The objective is not to make project humorous, but to enhance the working environment by using humour. Project managers have to work under tremendous time & resource constraints, and humour can be used positively to relieve stress and tension while working on a project. It can help to develop better team climate. Humour can be one of the key assets of the project manager which he can use for effective implementation of the project.
What Makes a Leader Anyway?
Sampietro distinguishes project leaders as those who are ambitious enough to take on new challenges, and project followers as those who are satisfied to fulfill their current responsibilities. However, he wants to make sure it is understood that good leaders require good followers, and vice versa. They are two sides of the same, funny coin.