I don’t get it. I was talking to a young woman last week who told me that in her company, being asked to work on a project was about as close to a punishment as one could get. “Projects are for those people that have been rejected from the normal line organization” she said. I guess you can see the logic, everyone is busy with their daily stuff except for those with nothing to do and they only have nothing to do because someone kicked them out of the line organization. But… I wonder why more line employees don’t want to jump into project management?

To answer my own question, it is true that at the end of a project there is a chance that you might find yourself on the bench waiting for the next ride but, let’s assume for one moment that you do a reasonable job on your project – what would you have done?

  • You would have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the root causes to the problems your project will set out to solve.
  • You would have spent some time persuading senior management to understand the importance of their support and buy in
  • You would have raised the budgets needed to do the work.
  • You would have recruited a team of mixed abilities and skill sets to tackle all the tasks that you and the team identified.
  • You would have built a schedule, pointing out risks and dependencies for each and every task
  • You would have analyzed the risks and come up with mitigation plans.
  • You would have anticipated the areas where people would have to change their behavior and anticipated their possible reactions, in advance
  • You would have come up with strategies to alleviate the anticipated resistance and fear in the mindset of all the people that your project touches.
  • Perhaps you would have negotiated with the trade unions?
  • You would have motivated the team to focus on and deliver all the tasks identified.
  • You would have monitored the progress and reported back to the management team the good and the bad. You would have asked for their help.
  • You would have communicated across the business, just what it is your project is doing
  • You would have organized project events
  • You could have even created a project culture of fun and cooperation that spreads into the rest of the business
  • You may have performed some of the project tasks and contributed to one of the teams successes
  • You would have signed off the project and handed the results over to the business

And imagine that you only did a small part of the above items – wouldn’t it have been more rewarding than the line organization tasks you left behind?

I don’t think the young woman’s company understood what a project can be and what it is at heart. I suppose they think of a project as an annoying irrelevance to what goes on in their daily lives? Imagine a business without change. Hmmm, I wonder how long it could last?

Have a good week,