Welcome to My Project Delight

welcome to MPDI became a project manager by accident. Quite an intro, i can hear you say. Bear with me. More than a decade ago,  the only opening at an organisation i wanted to work for was mysteriously called ‘project manager’. I applied, successfully passed the competition and they offered me the job. I hardly realised back then what  the job is about and what to expect. I was all smiles on my first day at the new job. The organisation did its best, but it was also new and in the process of organising itself and the newly arrived team. I continued to put on a brave face. Very soon an avalanche of a multi million Euro projects portfolio, i was supposed to “manage”, challenged my smile with a smirk: “Let’s see your talents now”. Needless to say that as soon as my previous employer got back to me, I returned to the job i felt comfortable at.

In time, project management became a professionally  delightful, although accidental, love. This perspective made me cherish my first experiences. I wish back then i had a mentor  or coach to talk to, a source of info which would explain the tips and tricks of the trade, a network of beginners who faced the same “smirking face”.  This blog is inspired by my younger self and the every day learner i am aspiring to be.

The kings and queens of project management will find this blog boring, and they are always welcome to share a tip or two.  “Tips are like hugs, without the awkward body contact” I once read next to a tips box in a Juice Bar in an airport. So are the tips on this blog. Sometimes they are just my two cents :). Anyway, let’s get tipping for a delightful project management experience!

Email with care

– She did not like the tone of your email, said my boss, referring to a consultant on the team.

I was shocked to hear that. I went back to my email. I re-read it. Had others read it. Back then, I did not realise it is about the way  the receiver reads it and about the environment/stage she/he is at that time.

This knowledge came to me couple of years latter at an emotional intelligence training. When the trainer guided me to a research by Daniel Goleman: “we tend to misinterpret positive email messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended. Even jokes are rated as less funny by recipients than by senders”.

This is important to pay attention to especially in remote-control project management, where you cannot pop-in the teams offices and where most of communication is by email. To prevent and/or overcome eventual misunderstandings, I aspire to practice face-to-face or Skype or video-conference contacts on a regular or just spontaneous basis.

If you are interested, here is a reference to the above mentioned research http://www.danielgoleman.info/email-with-care/

Let’s Project some fun

– Did you see some of the country?, the dinner host asks me.

– ya, the street to and from the hotel.

–  This country is beautiful. 

– No disagreement here. My project partners – me pointing at them – make me work when i am here on mission. Talk to them! 🙂

– well, happy people live, healthy people work :), the wisdom of an experienced judge. 

Let’s Project some fun 

Project Manager job interview at its origin: 

– You bring what to the project?

– me – serve snacks on leaves. 

– ?

– me – also put tag names around necks. 

– What happened to last project gang you managed?

– … 2 run away, one – gone mad, 3 – left bites marks on my arm. You want me show? 

– ? Eh…no. No! What result did your project bring to your tribe?

– what’s a “result”?

– thank you. Next candidate please!

Inspired by: 

Why involve civil society in projects?

This week I was one of speakers at an international meeting on civil society involvement in projects. There were lots of inspirational speakers from both sides of the story. 

Will retain for now an advice from Goran Forbici, Director of the Centre for information service, cooperation and development of NGOs, Slovenia:

“Imagine four housewifes in your neighbourhood. One has a chocolate, the second – 2 eggs,  the third  – some butter and sugar, the forth – some flour. With the exception of chocolate, there is little use of ingredients by themselves. But together they can make a chocolate cake.”

I would replace “housewifes” with neighbours, any neighbors. 

If you are not a chocolate-lover, replace it with fruit or another preferred  ingredient. The process and the end-result is what matters most. 

So, next time i am asked why involve the civil society in project design and implementation, i’ll make sure i have all the ingredients in my bag. I might look like a housewife just back from the market, but the result matters in this case, not the impression i might make.  

The “how” in the equation on the involvement of civil society   in projects is a topic for another post. TBContinued.