Imagine that you are at a social gathering where your friend John begins a challenging conversation. John asks some probing questions to the group, questions that hit home with you. Unknowingly to the group, the questions shine a light on some things that are not right in your life. At an appropriate moment, you excuse yourself from the uncomfortable discussion.
Sometimes we need to hear hard questions, personally and professionally. Project managers need regular quiet times in their lives where they can think deeper about their attitudes, behaviors, and actions. While excessive introspection is unhealthy, we should periodically examine our lives to understand the deeper issues in our life.
I want to ask you five questions. My motive is not to MAKE you feel uncomfortable. Rather, my aim is to help you identify the deeper things that are limiting your effectiveness.
As you consider each question, be willing to ask yourself: Am I REALLY being honest with myself? Here we go…
- Why do you avoid your project sponsor? The most important relationship in your project is with your sponsor. A project manager without the support of the sponsor is doomed to failure. Be honest: Why are you avoiding your sponsors?
- Why do you skip planning? You know the 5 P’s: Proper planning prevents poor performance. While some project managers are excessive in their planning; others skip it all together. Think about your last five projects. Where did you take planning shortcuts that hurt you and the team? What is causing you to skip the critical planning steps?
- Why do you fail to rest? Some project managers burn the candle at both ends, working countless hours to deliver successful projects. While well intended, these project managers are often tired and are not performing at their peak. These same individuals dread going to work every day.
- Why do you never say NO? Some of us are driven to make everyone happy. Why? We want everyone to like us; we want the accolades. Learn why super successful people say NO.
- Why do you fail to manage your risks? Some project managers think they know all the risks and can keep up with the risks in their head (smart PMs, huh?). That may be so if you are managing one small project. But as you manage several projects, you will exceed your ability to identify, to assess, and to respond to the risks. Why do you shun a practical, systematic approach to risk management?
The first step in maturing as a project manager is being honest with ourselves and admitting our mistakes.
Where do we go from here? Map out your course of action for change. How will you rest more? What are some areas of your life where you can say no? What will you do to start building stronger sponsor relationships?
Keep up the good work. Live a life that’s worth living. Your best days are ahead!
Question: What is the best project question you’ve been asked recently?