Don’t expect your family to be impressed when you finally become famous. Last year I published my first book, “Scrappy Project Management – The 12 Predictable and Avoidable pitfalls every Project Faces.” It was a huge success. (Well, certainly nothing on the order of Harry Potter, but pretty big for a project management book) We had 150 guests at the launch party, and the book has been among the top project management books in the US since the October hullabaloo. What’s my family’s reaction? I’d have gotten more attention if I’d gone hunting and dragged home a deer with a big set of horns. You see, my family loves hunting and they get all excited about a deer flung over the hood of a car or a nice freezer full of freshly butchered deer chops. (I’m actually quite a good shot myself, but refrain from hunting because I don’t want to kill cute animals, even if I do eat them occasionally. ) But would they get an adrenaline rush from a family member writing a book on project management? Definitely NOT on the top ten list of things that gets them to put aside the remote control. Even though they seemed less than impressed with what took me 3 years to produce (heck, that’s WAY longer than the 9 months it took for my siblings wives to produce grandchildren), I sent my mom and dad a book, and both brothers, too. They promptly used them to prop up their computer monitors to achieve a more ergonomic PC configuration (I think my mom swatted some mosquitoes with it first). Continue reading
For years I thought I was a bitch. Then I realized I was just scrappy! When I was younger I wanted people to think I was nice, but then I noticed that it was a lot easier to get my way if I was pushy. Unfortunately, being a bully works. Over the years I’ve made numerous trade offs between my integrity and some business result that I pushed a little too hard to get. But even when I thought I was just being appropriately persistent, determined or intense, I’ve noticed that it’s a fine line between bitch and doormat. Presented with what appeared to be a choice between these two opposites, I gravitated towards bitch every time.
Some people tell me that the world is a spectrum of possibilities, that I needn’t choose between the extremes, that I tend to perceive the polar endpoints rather than more moderate options. It has only been in the last 5 years or so that I’ve begun to realize that there are more moderate approaches, like being firm yet tactful, or gracious, yet determined. But these approaches require a great deal of self-awareness, skill and care, so when I’m tired, or stressed out, well, bitch wins.Continue reading
PROJECT MANAGERS SUCCEED BY GETTING “SCRAPPY”
Kimberly Wiefling, author of “Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces,” helps project managers succeed when communications and timelines break down, results seem impossible, or teams are non-performing.
Murphy’s Law states: If something can go wrong, it will. According to international Project Management Consultant, Kimberly Wiefling, Murphy’s Law is alive and well – and living inside of every project supervised by a project manager across the globe. By helping Project Managers to “get scrappy,” Wiefling, the author of “Scrappy Project Management,” shows project managers how to thwart Murphy’s Law, and succeed by avoiding the 12 predictable and avoidable pitfalls every project faces.
“Projects are messy,” says Wiefling. “Every project manager is going to encounter some, or all, of these 12 predictable pitfalls, no matter what the project. For example, communications will break down. Timelines will go by the wayside. Goals will be clear to some but not to others. Employees might feel demoralized, or machines will go haywire.” Continue reading
Scrappy means ATTITUDE.
Scrappy means not relying on a title to be a leader.
Scrappy means being willing to take risks and put yourself out there.
Scrappy means doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it.
Scrappy means having the steely resolve of a street fighter.
Scrappy means sticking to your guns even if you’re shaking in your boots.
Scrappy means being committed beyond reason to making a difference.
Scrappy means caring about something more than you care about being comfortable, socially acceptable, or politically correct.
Scrappy means being absolutely, totally committed to extraordinary results.
Scrappy means EDGY! . . . and is your edge in achieving outrageous results even when they seem impossible.
The Scrappy Guides help you muster the courage and commitment to pursue your goals-even when there is no evidence that you can succeed. They will be your shield against the naysayers who will try to undermine you, and they will give you comfort during the inevitable failures that accompany most worthy pursuits. When you fail, fail fast, fail forward, in the direction of your goals, lurching fitfully if you must. Continue reading
If you are absolutely dependent on your paycheck to survive, do yourself a favor, don’t be a project leader! In most of the scrappy high-tech organizations that I have worked in, the role of a project leader cannot be successfully filled by anyone who can’t put their job on the line in the pursuit of doing The Right Thing. From the project kick-off, where the project leader may not even be involved, to the attempted premature launch of a less-than-ready-to-ship product, projects run a higgily-piggily route. This real-world path rarely resembles the neat, tidy, well-defined process described in the PMBOK®.
In order to deliver results in the challenging circumstances typical of many business environments, project leaders must be absolutely committed to the success of their projects and leading their team to that success. Frequently they must execute this feat without any explicit support, sometimes with active resistance, and occasionally in the absence of any evidence that the project is indeed possible. This calls for leadership in the face of fearsome challenges. Continue reading
In spite of much rhetoric on the subject, and the holy grail of the triple constraint, you cannot measure your entire worth as a project leader, or the success of your project, purely by whether they are on-time, on-budget, and feature-complete. In fact, to do so could create a negative spiral that further undermines your chances of success.
Marcus Buckingham, of First Break All the Rules fame, argues in The One Thing You Need to Know that people and teams do not perform at their best when they are realistic. Great managers get the best performance from people when they build their self-assurance to the point of helping them to become unrealistically optimistic. And great leaders achieve the best from their organizations when they rally people to a better future and get them to be unrealistically optimistic about the prospects that things will get better.
Optimism is a Strategy
Unrealistic optimism and high self-esteem are key factors in individual and team success. However the project management environment isn’t exactly brimming with unbridled optimism and positive reinforcement. Quite the opposite. Continue reading