I had coffee with a new friend, David Greenfield, the other day, and we got to talking about various project management philosophies. I'm a proponent of Critical Chain Project Management and he has been recently studying Scrum project management in anticipation of a certification.
As we were talking, I connected a couple dots. One, people like Getting Things Done because it gives you a set of activities to reorient your work and make active progress. To me this seems like a lot of what good project management should do: orient people to what needs to be done and help them make progress.
This leads to my second connection: Project management isn't about creating Gantt and Pert charts. It is about getting things done. The project has a vision of success, whether that is a regulatory filing, a media campaign, a new software product, or anything else. The project also has a zillion little things that need to get done to achieve that vision, and people that have to do the work. PM is about helping the project and team stay focused on the end goal while also helping them see what needs to be done today to achieve that goal. David summed it up nicely, saying that the role of the project manager is to remove roadblocks that keep people from doing what they need to do today.
By the way, David's got a blog, The Cranky Developer, but it has been left untouched for a while. Maybe he will start writing again if I prod him into it.