It is Halloween today! People are disguising themselves to have fun, the front yards of houses are decorated with pumpkins, children are knocking on the door for candies and some are lighting candles in graves and tombs. Halloween is full of festivities and fun.
But what can a project manager learn from Halloween or how can we relate Halloween to project management and learn some key lessons. Project management has its share of “ghosts” that prevents the proper execution and delivery of projects. Let’s learn about these project management ghosts:
Avoid ghosts from past project failure
Project failures are part and part and parcel of project management. Project failures are a great learning curves for a project manager. But a past project failure should not come haunting the project manager or project team. Every project is unique and different in its own ways. A past project failure doesn’t mean that the next project will fail. Instead a project manager or project team should learn from its past mistake, strive to never repeat the mistake and move on. That’s it. The past is past.
Avoid ghosts from empty or hollow projects
Do you remember a horror movie where the plot takes place in an empty hotel or house where the only noise one can hear is the sound of wind and opening doors and windows? Well empty or hollow projects is an analogy for projects that don’t have any project plan, project charter or any particular documented project specification that defines a project and show is final delivery. It is empty and devoid of content. Launching a project without a project scope, charter or a well-defined plan to execute it is a cardinal sin which can condemn your project to failure.
Avoid ghosts of office politics
All organization and their departments have people and team with different views and biases. Conflicts and differences may arise because of different perspectives and agenda. Having a healthy difference, opinion and constructive criticism with regards to the project is good. But when the differences and conflicts become personal and colleagues start backbiting and gossiping, it can lead to toxic relationships and demotivating atmosphere.
Avoid ghosts of toxic team members
Again, due to different view points and biases, some team members can have grudges leading to unacceptable behaviors preventing other members to collaborate effectively and communicate honestly. Genuine grievances from angry team members should be addresses. Toxic team members should be managed and listened to find common ground and find a solution. But if they still remain toxic they should be exorcised from the project. Managing difficult team members is the key to successful project management.
Avoid ghosts arising from the ashes of miss-understanding
Most of project management is communicating clearly to get things done. A project manager should make sure to communicate clearly, concisely and precisely to this team members and superiors. And after he should make sure that everyone has understood and is on the same wavelength. Otherwise, if there is any miss-understanding or miss-communication its ghosts will come haunting for a long time even if the miss-understanding has been cleared. Even the ghosts-busters would find it difficult to bust miss-communication ghosts.