Life in The Circus or is This Real World Project Management?
Managing 20 projects at one time is crazy right?
I am not a circus act and I have no skills in juggling plant pots or plates … what I do have is Project Management experience in the real world that I have amassed over a number of years to allow me to manage multiple projects at the same time …. does that make me crazy, talented, neither or both?
Unless you are working on one very big project, which is unlikely in my field of CRM, you will more than likely be managing a number of smaller projects. What is a small project? – is it the amount of effort required to deliver? is it based on value? Smaller projects as indeed larger ones always amass time from the project manager and as we all know the smaller ones take most of our time!
So what’s the secret to being a successful project manager? – well I don’t have a secret, I have a clear and concise way that I manage myself and others, I above all have to trust my team to do their job as without that projects will fail and the weakest link/team member will be the one that makes it fail. As the PM I need to know my team, their strengths and weaknesses – lets be clear here all team members are not perfect they all have their good points and bad traits – so its part of my job to know my team and adapt to how they work to get the best from them …. Well that’s what I believe and it seems to work!
I average about 15-20 projects simultaneously, ranging from CRM upgrades, to installations, to implementations deployment and rollouts….
These projects span multiple time-zones which of course brings in multi-cultural challenges and language barriers (most of the time). Managing projects at best is a skill and with the right mind set, can be simplified however it can also be a “herculean” task when of course 1 project becomes 20, as I have the same team that I need to juggle in order to make everyone feel that they are the most important client … again a skill that requires some sense of humour and above all “honesty”…
“Honesty” yes honesty — there is no point trying to deliver a project in xx number of weeks for xx number ££ if this is just not possible. We all want to stay in the boundaries of the SOW but as we all know this (in most cases) proves to be a challenge – well I say be “honest” they will love you in the end when you tell them and justify why “you project simply cannot be delivered to a standard that I would like in the number of weeks you want” … again that’s what I believe and it works for me !
So back to my “plant pots” or tools to help me achieve what I need to do, we all have systems that help (or hinder in some instances), primarily calendars, to-do lists, plans etc etc. Apart from all the qualities a PM needs to have, I believe a “good memory” is key and a drive to get my team motivated to deliver the projects…I say projects as we all juggle here and I am the one throwing in that “extra” plant pot – so it’s important to balance what I give the team, how to prioritise and how to manage the expectations of the client sponsors..
All in all, project management is like a circus act, its where you’re in the spotlight managing the plant pots, juggling them all at once and for someone waiting for you to drop one ….
Believe in what you do, be true to yourself and above all never give up!!