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.
Tag: top five
“I would rather eat a cactus…than run a project” by Lesley Elder-Aznar
I found the title funny, even if I would rather not eat a cactus, in any event, unless it has been processed into agave syrup. Many of the aspects touched upon resonated with my project manager’s life in the corporate world: negotiations with other departments, the surprise of learning about costs recharging, change management…
The book covers the lifespan of a project from initiation to the business case, kicking of the project, executing, communication and training plans, to closing and monitoring of the project. Sections on project roles (who is who), agile project management and behaviour changes enrich the technicalities with insights.
As the author tells us herself: “The whole purpose of this book was to demystify project and project jargon, to make it less scary, to make it more accessible to everyone. Not just the people who are working in project world, but all of the people who are on the receiving end of change, or unwittingly seconded onto a project.”
It is indeed a book largely for uninitiated. Yet, those who are more experienced can still find useful reminders. I also read it as an invitation for staying humble in interactions with more junior by experience colleagues.
It also felt at times as reading through training materials or attending a training as on some pages the author “speaks” to you (“hold on..”, “humor me…”). There is nothing wrong with that and there are readers who prefer this way of presentation of information. It can also inspire you in you are preparing for a training delivery – forget not to give credit.
The lines that made me smile:
“If you have a Finance team that can organise this without you promising to name your first-born child after the Finance Manager, then you are destined for success!”
“Your friendly Finance business partner will spend much time explaining to you about cost-centres and WBS (work breakdown structure) codes and how it’s all going to take place in the monthly cycle. Just nod along and ask them to email you when it’s done. Or you risk wasting years of your life trying to understand it.”
Pro tip of the week: what counts
I always find it invigorating to learn from other disciplines. During the reporting season, it is worth reminding ourselves about what matters.
Pro tip of the week
Cognitive diversity enables innovation, strengthens the sense of belonging and improves the performance of individuals and teams. Go with this mental set-up to the next team meeting, armed with good listening skills, and see what happens.
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