What we do as project managers, as leaders of mice and men on projects, is important and is – at times – world conquering – but some just don’t realize it at the time. When we look back on a long project and see the landscape of where we’ve been and what we accomplished – as a team – despite (or inspite of?) all the adversity, issues and risks, it is often amazing to think that we reached our final destination at all. Do you ever feel that way? Like, how the heck did we actually pull this off? You say things out loud like, “Remember that time five months ago when the client was ready to pull the plug on the project and over a couple of beers we talked them into giving us a shot at making things right?” Ever had that happen? I have…with the world’s largest casino/gaming organization but it was over the phone, not over beers but they did agree and it all worked out ok…thankfully. It was 10 years ago, but I remember that phone conversation like it was yesterday.
Return to the basics
The bottom line is this…it’s all about best practices. It’s not about following some strict guidelines set forth by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). It’s not about being a Project Management Professional (PMP) with some praise-worthy earned and paid for certification from PMI. It’s not about being the craziest Creative Director in the country or the world and taking amazing risks that no one else would (or maybe it is, actually). But what it is about is doing your best to stay the course and stick to some project management best practices that got you to where you are in the first place.
Enjoying the crazy
Taking risks is great and you have to do that as a project manager and creative lead. Making crazy 11th hour decisions is a must on many, most or all projects (I forget which) and backing those decisions up by confidently moving forward even if you’re scared to death or made those decisions with almost no solid information or history to base them on. On some projects you find yourself sticking with creative team members who suffered right along with you and made mistakes that they learned from and you helped them through or made rogue decisions that you had to call them on and talk yourself out of giving them another chance and not just replacing them on the project. Those are the real-life things that happen on projects every day of our lives and it’s probably why we continue to be project managers. It’s not nearly as boring as our spouses, family and friends think it probably is. It’s actually pretty interesting, always different, sometimes fun and even exciting, and we get to work with great people. And every once in awhile we get to pull off the unbelievable from the inevitable epic failure and say…”Wow, we did that together – but how?!?”. That’s fun. But don’t tell anyone.
Share your thoughts
How about you? Do you find managing projects to be mundane or do you occasionally have those moments where it is actually exciting and a bit of a rush to lead a great group of individuals through ups and downs and highs and lows and periodic failures, and unexpected successes? At the end of the day, you’re glad you did it, aren’t you? Share your thoughts and experiences…