Today, I have decided to become a blogger. After 18 years of professional life, 17 of them as an IT Project Manager, I started wondering if there’s such thing as Happy Project Management. Well, I don’t know, and that’s the reason why I become a blogger. I don’t have any problems remembering successful projects, I do have problems trying to forget unsuccessful projects (I am sure we all do). But In retrospective, how many of us remember managing happy projects? I will share some of the experiences I gathered in the past years and I hope we can solve this riddle together.
Can you be a happy Project Manager? Can you manage successful, but also happy projects? Well, as a starting point, we need to separate happiness from successfulness. Successful projects have many ways to be measured; Scope, Cost, Time, Quality, Customer Satisfaction, buyback, you name it. But at the end, it’s that final feeling, that final warm words that all PMs are looking for, did your sponsor(s) come back to you and said to you “this was a great project, thank you”? I am pretty sure this happened to you many times, even if the project was not. How many times did your sponsor(s) come back to you and said to you “I was very happy during this project” and how many times you felt happy during, or after a project?
Sometime ago, I was part of a very complicated and stressing project (one of many), it burned down a previous PM and I was gracefully asked to take over. Well, I did. The whole team was stressed, working overtime, on weekends, getting calls, crazy daily 2 hour meetings, we were being called incompetent almost on a daily basis , a couple of guys from our team left, and finally; after a year, we went live and things settled down. This project made me and my fellow team members bitter. Nobody came back to the team and thanked them, nobody wanted to talk about the project or the lessons we learned, if any. We all were focused on moving on. Eventually, our customer decided to invite us to participate in a second phase and also in many more projects for an additional couple of years. It was one of the best and warmest unspoken thank-yous I have ever received. At the end, I was very happy, the team was grateful and happy and eager to participate in the following phases. You tell me, was this a happy project, was this a successful project, or both, or neither? TTYL HD