Is Your Project Haunted?
As we approach Halloween this year, let’s consider – could these
project be haunted? Old techniques for project management may have worked for
you before but, don’t always work for everything and may never work again. Resurrecting
them may seem like a good idea, but is often a symptom of complacency and can
lead to zombie project nightmares.
Those old project skeletons in the closet may seem to be the comfortable
path to take because no one likes change, and they once worked successfully in
the past. So, the project becomes haunted by your laziness. Maybe you are just “phoning
it in” based and ignoring new tech or new best practices. Or you may be
overlooking issues that are pointing you to a different (and less haunted) solution
for the project.
Using practices that don’t make sense anymore?
Complacency. That word just seems to evoke ghosts of
Halloweens past. Trying to take the easy way – boo! It can lead to a very
painful and scary outcome. Maybe you have five projects going at once and the
old ways look like an easy fix to just get by using old templates to start from
that are similar but not quite right. That can be a huge mistake and leave you in
a position of missing some work, some revenue opportunities, or skipping a
deliverable altogether. And that is a nightmare– leaving you with a disappointed
customer at the end of the day. All these are potential outcomes or oversights.
Haunted? Yes… sort of.
Managing the team the wrong way?
Our project teams are full of highly specialized individuals
– very talented (hopefully) at what they do. Structured project management is
different than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Better for the most part. There are
definitely more tools available. There are definitely more documented
practices, more and better best practices, more experienced team members, and
more experienced project leaders. It’s dangerous to be “old school.” You will
be eaten alive by project clients and maybe even your own stakeholders.
Trying to manage your team with old management practices and without
a collaboration tool is like entering a haunted house and never finding the
exit. Your team won’t be on the same page and you may have trouble gaining
their respect and confidence. As a result, imagine the utter horror of not
being able to deliver to a happy project customer even though you thought you
were doing the right thing by doing what you’ve always done on similar
Expecting your customer to just let you run with it?
Are you expecting the customer to just hand you money and
jump out of the way? Sounds like something out a fairy tale. We aren’t talking
fairy tales here – we are talking about ghost stories… only they are the bad
dreams that you created on your own with no one else to blame. Customers want
more for less, have tighter budgets, and are more involved because they want to
manage project outcomes more closely.
For the most part, you want that as well. You need that
customer available when information, an explanation, or a decision is needed.
You need that customer’s attention. Today, more than likely, you will have it.
Get used to it – it’s a good omen that keeps the ghouls away.
Each project needs to be planned afresh each time. Requirements
need to be thoroughly vetted and risks need to properly analyzed to keep your
projects out of the haunted house. Complacency and laziness have no place in
managing projects and serving the project customer. Step up the game with your attention
and modern tools to keep the bats out of the belfry of your projects.