It’s often said that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Well, if you are to survive in Project Management, you need to a foot firmly in both camps.
You don’t need to know every intricate technical detail of your project, you will have people that have that covered for you. And, of course you will be able to bluff your way through any probing that may come your way. Make sure you have your generals in place.
You don’t need to be on intimate terms with everyone in your organisation. However, you should take the time to work out who will be able to help or hinder the success of your project before you decide to practice your character assassination techniques on them or their projects. Get some good contacts in other projects.
What you absolutely, without question, need to know is what is going on. Both within your own project and in other areas that affect your project. So practice that oft underrated management methodology of MBWA (Management By Walking About).
Talk to people, suss out who they are, how they affect your project, how they fit in to the general scheme of things and of course whether they fall into the good guy or arses category. Find out how their projects are doing and what problems they are encountering, and how they are resolving them. Look listen and learn – store all this up, one day it will come in handy.