The story of a project with two project managers, who
– are on linear relationship within the organisation,
– have pretty much the same job description,
– share the time and energy of one assistant,
– work with the same client, but at different dynamics. One is there daily, at a phone call or walk-in distance, in the field, as it is called. The other is 2000 km away, visiting from time to time.Scenarios can differ. The questions remain: how to stay sane, enjoy the experience and bring the project to a succesful completion.
As in any work relationship, three things matter: professional communication, ethics and chemistry, as once put it my dear colleague Peter. Project work is no exception.
It is professionally expected and desirable to communicate well right from the beginning, aspiring to set an optimum framework. Sort of who does what and when. Sometimes it is possible to get it straight from the very beginning. E.g. I write the reports for the steering committee, you communicate with the beneficiaries; you do the welcoming remarks, I wrap-up the event. Sometimes, you take the situations as they come. E.g. you call the client and i follow-up with an email for the event’s invitations. The role of the project assistant is undeniably critical. He/she needs to always make sure both project managers get the same info at the same time.
It is ethical to create and project an image of equal effort and equal responsibility. No naming and shaming for whatever happens in the project. And projects can get pretty cheeky. It is important that your supervisors see that. It is critical that your partners and project beneficiaries see that. They will mirror your collaborative and cooperative style, we try so hard to teach them in development management. So, try to manage by example.
And, last but not least, the chemistry. It is either there or not. Although you can get inspiration from “Memoirs of a Geisha”, a historical novel by the American author Arthur Golden, published in 1997. No, it is not a project management book, but gives plenty of inspiration on human interaction not requiring anything physical. Listen, communicate, exemplify loyalty to your job and profession.
Feat. is for harmony. Projects are no exception. If it still does not seem to work, choose a musical or any other “partners in crime” duet you both like to get inspiration. I like Eros Ramazzoti feat Anastasia.
Try to make it work, at least for fun and for the opportunity of learning more about yourself. It will not always work. I admit, i try to practice what i post, to the extent i can.
It is fun as you get to play the good guy-the bad guy game. Or allow yourself to disconnect, while on leave as you know that your partner-project manager has your back.