Project Managers often have chameleon-like adaptability, infallible common sense and unmatched efficiency. The best PMs combine these traits with relevant training for even better results. Do you watch people tackle tasks and think “Why would they go about it that way?” Does it baffle you when others can’t multitask? Are you rarely surprised by so-called “unexpected” events at work? You sound like a Project Manager.
We’re going share two (completely fictional) real-life stories where project management helped save the day. If these are “so you” but you aren’t a Project Manager, you should seriously consider re-training.
1. Dates are high Risk situations
The other day, a Project Manager’s partner implied that they were a bit too much of a control-freak around the house. The PM immediately identified this as a Risk. Thankfully, their PRINCE2 training reminded them that Risks can be defined as “threats” or “opportunities”.
“Ok,” thought the PM, “I can maximise this opportunity to save the household atmosphere, AND save money by not going out. I’m TOTALLY comfortable delegating the cooking”.
But their heart sank when their partner gingerly picked up a courgette and asked why cucumber was going in the ratatouille. How were they supposed to resist the urge to micro-manage?
Project managers can’t always pick their teams. You have to be able and willing to build trust and work with the skills that are already present in your team, or train them where necessary. Aim to understand what they expect from the project and what they feel they can contribute. The PM remembered their partner had a knack for desserts, and delegated pudding to them – checking in on occasion to make sure all was well and they were both on track to finish in time. Dessert outshone the ratatouille and they had a lovely evening. Project success!
2. “Ok Megan, I’ll help plan your wedding. You said you just wanted a simple do, right?”
Most projects will see requests for change. It’s important to remember that being uncooperative with proposed changes only impedes a Project’s progress, and will likely result in unhappy teams and clients.
“I’ve changed my mind. I want to get married in a castle. With a choir, a horse and carriage and possibly some swans”.
However, some requests can seem (or almost certainly are) unreasonable. Particularly when they appear to be totally at odds with the agreed brief. Remember, you don’t have to approve everything, but a flat-out “no” isn’t helpful either. Acknowledge the request positively and build your case from there – taking care to prioritise what’s important and keep your goals in sight.
The PM admitted the requests sounded lovely, but reminded their daughter of the original plan, and her reasoning behind it. They also outlined where, if swans and horses were present, other elements may need to be cut. They asked open questions, compromised where needed, and carefully assessed the feasibility of each change. By being reasonable, positive and logical, the PM managed to control the changes and plan a beautiful wedding.
Just imagine if our Project Manager hadn’t read their PRINCE2 handbook. Their partner may have lost all hope of ever collaborating in the kitchen, and Megan might’ve blown her budget hiring an entire petting zoo for her wedding. The best project management skills are a combination of characteristics and certification. Certified Project managers benefit from developing their soft skills and applicable personality traits. Similarly, these helpful characteristics only reach their peak with relevant training. If you’re looking to maximise your project management skills and improve your career, click here to get certified with PRINCE2.