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In his book, Everything is a Project, Ben Snyder, CEO at Systemation, writes that projects are the way we move our departments forward. He continues:
“Projects are how we execute our initiatives in chunks. They make our products more efficient, organise our efforts and transform ‘what could have been’ into ‘what’. Everything is a project in reality. Some are large. Some are large. Some require discipline and a lot of work, while others are easy to handle. To get work done effectively and consistently, you need a specific set of skills and processes.
Is everything a project? Really? Snyder defines a project to be “a temporary undertaking undertaken to create an unique product or service.” Many things will fall under the ‘project’ category, but not all, surely. Snyder admitted in an interview with A Girl’s Guide to Project Management this year that he doesn’t believe everything is a project.
This book is still interesting, despite that. It contains 70 lessons on project management that Snyder has learned from his many years of experience working with clients. It works. It’s bite-sized pieces of straight-talking advice.
Three traits that make things happen:
Snyder discusses in one section the three characteristics of people who make things happen. They are:
Be likeable. People will do business with people they enjoy. You can modify your behavior by paying attention to how others respond to you.
Be generous. Do favors for others. It pays off.
Learn how to leverage. This involves seeing the bigger picture and finding small points for negotiation that can create positive outcomes.
This last point is a little more complicated, so I’ve paraphrased the example from the book.
Linda needed a keynote speaker to address an event on short notice. Marcia was available to speak so she called her. Linda was part of the organizing committee for a conference Marcia wanted, and Linda said that Marcia could speak if she was available. Marcia agreed to be the keynote speaker, despite having a vacation booked. It’s what some might call bargaining, but it gets things done.
Planning well will reward you with good planning
Snyder writes that the best way to approach a project involves first determining the level of certainty required and then deciding the level of effort. This is a great place to start planning, provided your sponsor and project organization agree.
If they do, you might work in a company that doesn’t appreciate heroism. Snyder writes that “great organisations reward prevention.” Snyder writes that there is something wrong when organisations reward project heroism and firefighting. They are running around trying to fix a project that should have been properly planned and managed from the beginning. Sometimes projects do need to be saved, but this should not be the norm. Companies that reward heroes at the expense project managers who don’t let their projects go berserk in the first instance are not following the right priorities.
Every project has some general business and leadership advice mixed with the project anecdotes. It is good to remember this type of thing from now on.
I’ll leave it to Snyder.
“Know the importance and the certainty of your project. Then, find the right project manager. They will predict the end result and make the necessary effort to make it a reality. This is the path to project success.
Lesson 67: What is the Profile of a Good Manager for Projects? It was published in April on A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. Click here to see it.
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