I’m a movie enthusiast. I’m sure most of the movies I see end up being bad ones. But I still think we can gather experiences for Happy Project Management. It’s 1989, Lock Up, a Sylvester Stallone vehicle about him trying to purge the last few months of his conviction. Eventually he leads a small group of misfits and starts working on a couple of “projects” together, one of them was rebuilding a ’65 Mustang owned by the prison and the other one was the actual prison break.
One of the project team members told Stallone that there’s only one rule: DTA, “Don’t trust anybody”. Another project member was so committed to the Mustang project, that at some point he started thinking that the he would own the Mustang instead of just delivering it. Let me tell you, (spoilers ahead) that both projects failed. The prison break was frustrated by the DTA guy himself. The Mustang project was delivered on time but was destroyed by the prison guards, the Mustang guy died.
Our PM (Stallone) failed. He did not listen to the DTA guy, he should have kept a closer eye on him, and everyone else. The PM also failed telling the Mustang guy he was NOT the customer. Our PM failed on understanding the customer needs, the prison guards did not want the Mustang to be rebuilt. Bummer.
We all have DTA guys in our teams, in our projects, everywhere. And they exercise everyday, they don’t trust you or any of the project team members. They will be questioning you and finding ways to sabotage the project. And they will do backstabbing at every chance and listen to other DTA guys, they detect each other. I’m also sure we all have seen Mustang guys in our teams, thinking they own the project, that they know what the customer wants and that their needs are more important than the customers’. They even think they are the customer. They are also telling you everyday that your project sucks because they are not happy.
Well, at the end, they are all wrong, do you want to be a Happy Project Manager?
-Trust your team mates, but keep a close eye on them, make them feel confident and they will deliver, be confident yourself that they will deliver. And if they won’t, make sure you’ll know ahead and that they come clean about delays.
-If you are not the customer, be sure that you don’t put your needs over the customers’, and make sure none of your team mates do.
About the DTA and Mustang guys, you will never get rid of them. Bummer.