Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Emotions and Projects

Conundrum: Should a Project Manager be emotionally involved with her project?

A  Project Manager needs to consider her project as the most important thing happening in the world. It needs her entire focus and concentration.


The more she thinks about it in the shower and while falling asleep, the better chance of her coming up with ways to improve the project and to realize what is missing and to identify potential trouble before it becomes obvious. 

This is why it's best when a Project Manager has only a single project to manage, at any one time.

That said, the worst thing that can happen to a project is to have the Project Manager emotionally involved with the project.

Why? Because it's crucial that the Project Manager be able to make decisions based on data and not on emotions.

Once a Project Manager is emotionally involved in a project, she will not be able to make drastic changes; she will fight any attempt to change, shrink or otherwise modify the project, since she is now emotionally attached to this project; the way it is now.


Once emotions are involved, then logical arguments become futile. Worse - this may hinder the project form completing, since that would be like saying good bye (or killing) a good friend.


So while the project needs to be the Project Manager's main focus in life, it must remain a project; something that needs to be defined - and continuously redefined, tracked, updated and completed.


Decisions need to be made based on data and facts. In a future post we will discuss how to make decisions when no data is available.


When asked her opinion on any aspect of the project, the answer needs to be "I don't have an opinion; whatever is best for the project is my opinion". If needed/warranted, the answer can include "I have an opinion, but my opinion is not relevant."


This does not mean that the Project Manager should not give input before the decision is made.


This does not mean that the Project Manager cannot suggest a better and/or different solution if it would seem to improve the project.


It does mean that the Project Manager will not try change a project merely to prove herself right. A Project Manager with an big ego is a Project Manager who cannot be trusted to make decisions in the best interest of the project.

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