PM’s Journal

Know Your Why

If you don’t know what you want – you will do what others want you to do. As simple as that.

This should be a minimum sufficient reason to figure out what you want to do, in which direction to develop, what kind of job to do. Especially it concerns those who work for smaller or big companies.

It becomes especially relevant in the context of personal and career development. There are so many jobs opportunities, learning offers and certifications that it is easy to get lost. This is why it is crucial to select that specific knowledge and information that brings value and is aligned to your own goals and plans.

Appetite Comes With Eating

What is more relevant: goal or the journey towards this goal?

Deadlines create a sense of urgency and craft the purpose. The goal is something concrete, tangible, and feels more like a project, which you undertake once and do not repeat. It does not bore you, it actually gives you drive and energy and perhaps the reason to wake up in the morning😀.

On the other hand, the goal is just a dream, a group of words, until it is achieved. The real work happens behind the scenes. All the ups and downs, challenges and unknowns. Imagine that everyday on your way to your goal you learn something new, you experiment, observe, succeed, and fail. It fills the time with a lot experiences. Have you ever had a feeling of emptiness once the goal is achieved? This is because the goal filled you with purpose and gave a reason to go ahead, find workarounds and solutions to interesting and boring problems to ensure you get to that final destinations, when you can call the goal “achieved”.

Maybe this is that secret “makes sense” button? To continuously create goals so that the journey never ends?

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Work And Study Balance

It is an absolute must to keep developing personally and professionally. But when can we find time for it if managing projects and teams consumes all available slots?

As Managers (not only managers, of course) we are all consumed by our workload and responsibilities. We have a result measured work, which means it does not matter how much time we need to spend on certain activities as long as it gets ✅ done. Which often leads to working extra hours for many days in a row. Which also means that this eats our time which we could have invested into personal development. We also could possible agree that after long day at work and extra hours our brain simply says enough and does not want to consume any educational overhead😬. So what to do about it?

The only thing which can help is to manage our time better. It is always possible to find time for learning something new or mastering a new skill. As long as we can prioritize and get as effective as possible during actual working hours. It is also important to know when to have a hard stop 🛑 .

Maybe then we won’t need overtime? Maybe instead of sitting extra hours and finishing incomplete activities, we could have managed our time at work better and invest this time into education instead?

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Talking Facts

There is something I had to learn the hard way. This is about being able to base your feedback and call for action on pure facts.

This is why meeting meetings, decision logs, changes have to be tracked and documented. Otherwise, in case something goes off the track – how will you be able to go back and prove why this event happened or what lead to specific results?

Your management is not involved into project activities on the day to day business. When you ask for their support or escalate anything – they will highly likely ask for evidences. And if you were diligent enough to collect them – you will be able to provide them in the form of facts☝️.

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Working With Customers

I love working with Customers. In some cases they are amazing, often demanding and sometimes complicated. But let’s face it – they are in the core of any business. Whom would we serve, if we didn’t have our customers? Who would pay us money, if we didn’t have clients?🤔

I entertain a thought by thinking about them as family members. You don’t always choose them, but you need to deal with them.

In some companies I used to work, any wish of the customer had to be satisfied. Any behavior of the customer had to be tolerated. Some situations were really horrible and some customers could afford such a behavior, that no normal person would ever tolerate it in personal circumstances.

After so many years of working with different Businesses and Customers, experience shows that you need to know when set the boundaries, when to walk away, when to say “No” or to push back.

I truly believe that it is very important to treat the Customer as top priority, but at the same time to keep your ears open. Whenever you see that customers go too far in their demands, behavior or attitude, you should bring them back to reality and set the record straight. To the extent possible, of course and by being polite and respectful to oneself and others.

And the reason behind this thought process is that it is not about customers only, it is also about leaders and teams who serve them.

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The Importance Of Saying “Thank you”

Always remember to show gratitude to the people you work with. Not only for some major achievements or results but for smaller things on a daily basis. “Thank You” – 2 simple words, but they give so much meaning and incentive. Saying thanks costs nothing, but gives everything😊.

I remember I used to have a manager, who, in fact, was one of the best managers I had a pleasure to work with. And he always said “thank you” to his team, even for the smallest things we did. We were ready to do anything for him. He was generous in showing gratitude and appreciation. It was not about his super management skills, it was not about him as a professional. It was all about him connecting with people, understanding them, appreciating them, and being one of them.

Unfortunately, today people often forget to say thank you. People very quickly get used to take everything for granted. That e-mail, which your colleague sent to you on time as per your request. That research your developer did by investing his personal time after work. That note, which your colleague forwarded to you in case you might need it. Do you notice all those smaller things?

We are all humans. And as human beings, we all need appreciation, attention, and recognition. Remember that when working with your teams and colleagues!

Thank you for reading this short insight from my side😃

7

Good Is Better Than Perfect

Whatever you do does not have to be perfect, but it has to be good enough to move ahead.

Time is always the limit. What is important now, might not be important tomorrow or a week from now. While you are working on your perfect plan, others move ahead with next and next steps. And by the time you are ready with your excellent plan, it might turn out to be useless. And that would be a waste.

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Yes and No

Remember this film 🎥 called „Yes Man” with Jim Carrey? Funny comedy about saying “Yes!” to everything and everyone!

I am a full supporter of saying “ Yes!” to almost all the opportunities that present themselves. Any chance has to be taken. “Yes!” to new experience, learning, new change or exciting challenge, new colleague or friend😀.

But at the same time I insist on importance of saying “No!”. Know when to walk away!

This is a vital skill to know when to use those 2 short but powerful words.

Say “No” to things which are not important for you, walk away from things which consume your energy and don’t give anything in return and especially use the “Stop button”⛔️ when your personal boundaries are crossed.

Same at work and in projects. You have to know when to say “No!” to your customer, to your employer or to your colleague. Actually this “No” might be the best choice you’ll ever make.

3

Participant Or Spectator?

Management is an interesting thing. Stuff gets done only when you and your team members are actively involved, make decisions and define or adjust direction.

I don’t know if it has something to do with corporate world or if it is a human factor, but often when I join a conference call, or a meeting, somehow only a few people get actively engaged into actual discussion. Majority just listens, multitasks or silently agrees (?) to whatever is decided by those “active participants”.🤦‍♀️

You watch closely and wonder 💭 in your mind: isn’t it great that those “activists” care to participate, get involved, make an impact? Or do they want to show they have at least something to say? Those in “silent mode”… Are they shy? Do they even listen? Do they care? Do they understand? Do they agree and have nothing to add?🤔

If you are one of those spectators, keep in mind that whatever is discussed, whatever is decided without your active participation, later might have have to be executed by you or impact you directly. So you’ d better make sure that if there is anything during those conference calls or meetings, which impacts you, your way of work, or the team you manage ( literally anything related to you), you must damn make sure you are an active participant and you are not just a spectator.

Ask questions. Clarify. Go into details to understand the full picture. Ask for some time to think things over and follow up. Request additional clarification. Don’t be shy. Be a participant, not merely an observer👆.

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Keep Experimenting

There is no single approach in project management which fits each team, each solution and each customer. So you need to be flexible and try many different options.😉

Your project is your “kingdom”. Keep experimenting and be creative to see what works and what does not. Enhance what works best, get rid of what does not. Check if there is a way to add even more value, if there is a way to do even better. Be a continuous learner and enable yourself and your team to get the best results ever🤗.

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