To follow a methodology to have all your projects completed successfully is more or less the bread and butter of project management. Sounds like Captain Obvious speaking here. But the point is that oftentimes we find that we manage to complete a project successfully, and when the rubber meets the road in our next project, we find that things are not running as smoothly as we expected. Sometimes things end up really going from bad to worse.
So what happened? How is it possible to ace like a rock star in one project and fail miserably the next? Well, there are several things to consider if we want to avoid these sticky situations, so please allow me to expand:
You gotta do your homework!
I know, it sounds like the crazy teacher from hell, but this one is one of the biggies. You need to understand which were the factors driving success in your previous project. And when I say “understand” I do not meant “intuitively knowing what worked well”, but actually reviewing each of the steps taken and their impact, not only in the overall project execution, but also with the people involved (yes, we can call them stakeholders). Some of the questions you can ask yourself while doing this are what events triggered what actions and what the result was (and WHY!).
Be careful with ‘apples and oranges’
Arguably the most important thing to understand while managing different projects is that each has their own idiosyncrasy. While you may have done an excellent job in putting together “best practices”, you need to make sure that you are taking into account all the salient variables that differ from one project to another. You should keep an eye on how scope, requirements, and expectations vary, and try to develop an empathy for your stakeholders to be able to adapt and respond to their changing needs (and perhaps moods, also? 😉 ).
Share the love
You are not the Lone Ranger. Even if you like to ride a fiery horse and fight for justice, you are probably working with a team and most likely managing people. Remember that success requires teamwork and learning from one another. Share what you have learned and make sure that your team understands the message. Take the time to mentor your people, this is an ongoing nurturing process but it is not only very rewarding, but also key to foster success.
Build the plan with time
This is the part when you are going to do all those project management voodoo thingies that you love so much, like planning your project. Take your time, do it carefully and most importantly, do not overlook this step. Usually projects fail because we underestimate them, we usually believe such detailed preparation is not necessary for this one, that is very similar to a previous one and no planning is required, and so on and so forth. Don’t fall into this trap; give your planning stage the time it deserves. You gotta loooove the planning!
Allow yourself to fail
I bet you didn’t see this one coming! But it is a good one. You are human; it is OK to make mistakes. The best part is what you learn from them. Do not try to be invincible, give yourself the space to fail and you will be able to create a contingency within your plan. Allowing yourself to fail and being able to use the experience positively to learn and grow will be the rock solid foundation of your success.
That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for more tips coming soon!
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