Be a Parent in Project Management
Mothers and fathers are, in many aspects, the best project managers in the entire world. They are one of the most astounding project leaders in terms of planning, budgeting, managing risks, assigning tasks and anticipating results.
Just as there are millions of ways to raise a child, there are millions of ways to manage a project, depending on the approach, the desired result and the client’s personality. The right approach saves your time and leads to everyone’s happiness.
There are obviously significant differences between working with children and managing a team, delivering a satisfactory result and guiding children to a better future. Nevertheless, there is no denying that some key elements in project management and parenthood share some similarities.
Just to name a few:
Put yourself in their shoes
Whether it is B2B or B2C, we are all human beings that strive for being understood. Each person involved in the project team should be able to, in some way, “role-play” the client. Just like parents talk to their children in a more babyish way, we try to understand the project as if we ARE the client. We need to know the challenge, the objective, the means, and the outcome. Meeting your target audience with empathy is the only way to market in this circumstance. Only when we identify ourselves with the audience do we have the ability to become their spokesperson for their clients and then create products that speak to their needs. Be empathetic in project management; it will circle back with good things and better deliverables. So yes, project management, as well as parenthood, are mutual understanding with a lot of empathy.
Milestones & Timelines
Coming up with a timetable with key milestones and deadlines helps to keep track of the project. When to pick up your kids from school, when to take them to the piano class, when they should brush their teeth…A timetable helps to manage the project with priorities, especially when you have several projects at a time. First delivery, second delivery…it separates the project into several stages, shares the budget, and measures different ROI accordingly. Moreover, every team member should be aware of the schedule and timeline so that we can all walk towards the same direction. Nevertheless, maintaining flexibility is a must and we can overcome risks by deploying agile methodology. We never know when there will be a crisis, a needed second version, or a sudden demand.
No news is bad news
Being a project manager means that we keep everybody in the project scope informed; this includes clients, teammates, directors, business partners, and so on. After bridging trust, direct communication becomes casual. The more we include the client into the project team, the more likely we share the same vision with our clients, discuss with them and propose any solutions we have, and not just obey them in any way. Listen to their needs and understand them, gather as much information and resources as possible in order to establish a plan of action and budget. We are always all ears for our clients and their needs, just like Mom and Dad are always there for their children. For us, communication is one of the top priorities in project management. No news, is definitely not good news.
Keep a balance between creativity and process
Speaking of solutions for clients’ challenges and obstacles, the team is composed of badass developers and creative directors that are extremely experienced. However, as a project manager, we not only want our projects to be on top of the world, we also want to deliver them in time and in shape. It is the job of a project manager to maintain harmony between team members, project procedures, making sure that there’s no budget conflict nor broken relationship. For sure, which parents wouldn’t want their children to play with their siblings and love each other?
Fail before you succeed
A lot of project managers are reluctant to talk about their failures and consider them a dark secret. However, none of our parents are perfect; it is absolutely inevitable to fall before you get to the top of the mountain. Many great project managers learn from their failures and transform them into success. Shit happens, sometimes the media campaign is just not working, sometimes we just don’t have the expected results with the estimated budget, and sometimes we fail to meet deadlines. A complete information and resource gathering, a full estimation of the risks, and a thorough review before client presentation are just so necessary to avoid the failure and prepare the unseen. And if we fail, no biggie, communicate with the stakeholders and inform them about the situation; coming up with a plan of action is the most important thing in dealing with such circumstances.
If we were to narrow it down to the top 3 things that mould the success of a project, they would most likely be: communication, empathy, and timeline. And you? Do you see these common superpowers within your mom, dad, your manager, or you?
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