We all know the “lessons learned” part in projects design. Some of us dread writing it, some – enjoy it. I used to be a fervent advocate of reflections and pausing to learn from past projects’ experiences to pave the way forward. As I grew professionally, I learned how illusionary that can be. This new perspective is not meant to diminish the value of reflections, it just sharpens the awareness of their limitations to what it can actually mean for decision-making in project planning and implementation in constantly changing environments.
Category: Room for reflection
A space for the reflective practitioner, inspired by Donald Schön.
Thank you, 2020!
As we processed the last payments for services delivered in 2020, we were grateful for having created opportunities for others. Thanks to these, they managed to stay afloat. And even thrive perhaps a little.
We learned to read each other on the screen. We compensated the missing clues by asking more frequently: “What do you mean?”
We got frustrated by the 10th email on something we could have solved in 3 minutes by walking into each others’ offices. And we picked up the phone to air it.
We acknowledged that while many of the processes this year were global, the way we felt their effects is individual and highly personal.
We learned the art of planning to re-plan and plan again.
We loved the “mute all” button. And “camera off”, which let us stroll unwatched to the kitchen for yet another bite of cookie.
We felt like naughty grandchildren shouting into grand-dad’s ear: “Can you hear me?”, still grateful for all the technology we have to connect.
We learned some things about our neighbours’ routine and know now not to accept video-calls during certain hours while teleworking.
We managed our time-in-the-office and teleworking and learned by heart the schedule of our partners and team members spread across the continent. Only to learn that it changed again.
We dropped the “all-or-nothing” approach. We allowed for complexity and different shades or nuances. We sought what was possible to do and went for it.
As externalities of travel and sanitary restrictions kept proliferating, we stopped should-ing on yourself and team members. We replaced the constriction of “should,” “ought to,” and “must” with “can,” “choose to” or “decide to”.
We thanked each other more and reinforced the gratitude at work.
We will keep at least some of these in mind as we enter a New Year. We will continue to learn, as we’ll navigate the course, that life is change and change makes life, in projects and beyond.
Trust. Teams. Politics
No matter their lifespan, projects need people to trust each other. I agree with Simon Sinek: “Trust emerges when we have a sense that another person or organisation is driven by things other than their personal gain”.
Members of a project team – be it a NASA project or a local community street cleaning project – need to trust each other. And trust is a feeling. It can be individual or shared. It comes from
– knowing that someone has your back,
– believing that your team mates will deliver on time their part and that you’ll take it from there and move it forward.
– being certain that they will show up.
– having faith that they will tell you in good faith when you make a mistake.
Trust comes slowly and evaporates in the blink of an eye.
Does it mean that when there is trust between members of the team, there is no conflict? Not at all. Pat Lencioni answers it well: “When there is trust, conflict is nothing but the pursuit of truth. Without trust, conflict is just politics”. And no one well-meaning wants politics in projects.
You must be logged in to post a comment.