This is an interesting concept that may be intrinsic to some or all of us…or maybe not. But I came across it by accident the other day and thought it might make for good discussion. Let me first set up the background…
My wife is an incredibly gifted photographer – probably the best photographer you've never heard of...seriously. She's just too busy with family (and me) at the moment to take her work professional...even though she has been commended by professionals on her work. She was telling me about this video she was watching about a photographer's revelation. He was shooting t-ball baseball games and it was driving him crazy. He was bored, lacked any creative motivation, and it was showing in his work. What he really wanted to do was shoot the World Series. Then it hit him – he needed to be shooting those t-ball games like he was shooting the World Series…and his outlook - as well as his output – improved drastically. In fact, a few years later he actually found himself shooting the World Series.
Avoid being bored. This leads me to my concept for this article. As project managers, we sometimes get that small boring project that isn’t much different than our last small boring project. In fact, for some of us out there, that may be how ALL of our project assignments go. We get bored, we go through the motions, we get frustrated, and we think it’s always going to be that way. So why bother with perfection? Why bother with creativity? Why go the extra mile? Why try to be overly visible with our projects…and will it even help?
Have a big vision
This may help...it's up to you. But if you do nothing, then nothing will definitely happen. That’s the key to the title…we need to try as hard as possible to treat every project like it is our creative genius project. Every project and every customer matter and deserve our best. Every project should be treated like it’s the most important thing we are doing for the company and for our careers. And we certainly need to treat every customer like they are our most important project customer to date. Let it show in your project schedule through the detailed tasks and the way you revise and distribute it. Let it show in the detail and consistency in your project status report. Let it show in the way you engage the customer and lead the project status meetings. Always use best practices, look for ways to manage creatively, and look for ways to garner new business on each engagement. Try not to just tell the customer what they need – try to show the customer something that they don’t know they want. The result will be a happy project client, change orders that add revenue to the project budget and tasks to the project schedule, and smiles to the faces of your executive management team. Eventually you will be managing larger projects, more important project customers, and much larger project schedules.
Summary / call for input
The bottom line is this...we all get fall into that trap of going through the motions. Project management can be as exciting and as boring as you make it. I realize there are those projects that are just like the last one and are fairly straightforward without much risk or change. But you can still look at it with fresh eyes, do a great job taking charge of your team, engaging your customer and making everyone involved feel like it's a very vital undertaking.
Readers...what are your thoughts? How do you stay motivated on those less-than-exciting project engagements? How do you keep your team – and selves – focused and energized?