Welcome to this week’s show on project management. Although a seemingly dry topic, we all have projects and things that we want to accomplish and therefore, the idea of managing a project takes on a totally different level of significance.
But first, what do we mean by a “project”? My favorite productivity guru David Allen has the best definition of this that I have ever heard. He defines a project as anything that requires two or more steps. And you can hear him comment even further on the way that we are all “project managers” right here. With that definition in mind, now we can really talk about projects.
Perhaps the biggest question we have when it comes to projects comes out of our desire to keep them moving forward. What makes them stall and why can’t we seem to get as much accomplished as we would like. We can blame the typical things such as time, resources and energy, but at times there are other considerations that may have not been brought to our awareness.
Sloane school of Management at MIT defines three things that project managers should watch out for. The first is anticipating the obstructions that could occur but not recognizing the full impact, second is not seeing things that could obstruct the project and third (and this one is my favorite), not anticipating things that could have been anticipated. That last one almost seems like crazy making doesn’t it? It is no surprise that they suggest as their number one approach to managing through these obstructions that collaboration with others is the key to successful project management. When we involve others, we get a better view of reality.
Nevertheless, consider how we feel whenever we need to work on a group project. We are exasperated just at the mention of it. And in my experience, the number one thing that delays group projects from moving forward is a lack of making and keeping clear agreements.
For more on this you need to listen to the show. But what works for you with managing your projects? What do you do when they seem to stall?