Project Practitioners > The People Within: Part 3 of 3

The People Within: Part 3 of 3

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


As I begin my journey into the ownership of a small business, one book that was recommended to me was “The E Myth: Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. The following is a description:

“An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispel the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.

Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.

The E-Myth Revisited will help you grow your business in a productive, assured way.”

In reading “The E Myth: Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber, he explains every small business owner has three people within them. The entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician make up the trinity of a small business owner.

This does not only apply to small business owners but also owners of a job. The trouble people who start a business have breaking free is the ownership of a job rather than a business. They fall too far into the technician side of the business and let the other areas take care of themselves.

In this three-part series, I want to take a deeper look into the three aspects of a small business owner and how it relates to a project manager within an organization.

Let’s discuss the areas of a technician:



The technician is the one who thinks no one can do it better so might as well do it yourself. You see a task and you want it done immediately. Delegation is not the first option. Performing the work is what drives the technician.

The technician has expert knowledge of the subject. The work is the task. The planning, estimating, scheduling, and invoicing are all secondary to the work. There is no long-term approach from the technician. You live in the now with the task at hand.

The path of a manager tends to go through the technician stage. You were an expert in your field by performing the work. That remains your default while the other phases get ignored. You tend to drift towards the work itself as that is most familiar.


Lives in the Present

The work to be performed in the moment is where the technician lives. The now is what drives the technician. The leak has to be fixed, the drywall repaired, and the room painted. The bug gets fixed before anything else in the technician’s mind.

The plan can wait. The schedule is too far ahead for the technician. This work must be performed in the moment. The materials need to be purchased and on site. The tools for the job must be present. Any outside influences do not matter. Communication between managers and owners does mean anything. The work needs to get done.


Challenges are Work

Instead of opportunities or obstacles, the challenge is the work. For the technician, everything revolves around the work and task. There is a problem with the air conditioner. The technician needs to repair it. The challenge of resolving the air conditioning issue is the work that needs to get done to drive the project forward.

The entrepreneur gets excited about the potential that challenges present. The manager gets frustrated with too many challenges. The technician needs these challenges to have a job. If a problem arises, the issue is the work itself. The part is wrong. A crew member did not show up to help. The equipment needs to be upgraded.



This trilogy of entrepreneur, manager, and technician need to be balanced. If one portion of the triad is lopsided, the other two are not sufficiently satisfied. The long term outlook becomes too much of the drive if the entrepreneur has too much say. The manager can get bogged down in the day-to-day of taking every challenge personally. The technician is too worried about what is happening now.

The pipeline of work gets driven by the entrepreneur. The scheduling, estimating, and invoicing of the work becomes the manager’s priority. The technician performs the work. This cycle, when fed appropriately, runs itself.

An out of balance cycle starts to get off course. Based on reaction, you will know which part is taking too much energy. If the future is a concern, the entrepreneur needs assistance. The past gives the manager a headache. The present drives the technician to show up every day.

Like the project manager must keep the scope, schedule, and budget in mind at all times, the entrepreneurial project manager must keep the entrepreneur, manager, and technician balanced.

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