2018 in Review 2019 Plan

2018 review….2019 plan…  

2019 is my time to apply everything I’ve learned in my life – personally, professionally, and what I’ve learned from others.

I’ve been in transition for years now – 2018 isn’t that much different than 2017 or 2016 professionally.  Understanding who I am, what I’m good at, what I I see, how that helps, why it matters…It’s been an amazing, sometimes painful, journey.  I value friends more, I value myself more, I value connections more, I value chance encounters more, I value people more.  I value different looks, different perspectives, lots of tolerance, and listening – as well as hearing. 

I’m willing to change my stubbornness for the common good. I’m willing to sit still and just be.  While I’ve been insistent on being the first to admit when I’m wrong, I’m now willing to be wrong.  I’m willing to trust my instincts which makes them stronger.  I’m willing to ask more questions.  I’m willing to hear the answers and modify my thoughts accordingly. 

I’m ready to fly – truly fly.  Help people.  Help increase our chance of success.  Help grow.  Help nudge.  Lead.

Zombie Scrum – or any methodology

I just found out about Zombie Scrum and I had a great laugh!  Go ahead Google it – zombie scrum.  It’s hysterical and 100% true.

And it’s why I feel compelled to write.  It has a name now – ‘ZOMBIE PROJECT MANAGEMENT’.  It drives me insane – at all levels.

To be clear – this is not just about scrum and agile, this is about waterfall too and all hybrids.  This is equivalent to bean counters, box checkers, boring status meetings.  This should be at the VERY top of every ‘common project management mistakes’.  Going through the motions, no emotional intelligence, no foresight, no life, no caring.  That’s what this is really talking about – moving those stickies across the wall without giving a sh*t about what you’re doing or why.  Makes me so frustrated.

I LOVE the term Agile Coach.  What a great segue away from the mundane to something active and alive.  Waterfall is too old fashioned – for many reasons and at many levels but it’s not completely obsolete yet.  I’m not a huge proponent of Agile by the way – it has it failures too.   I am a proponent of do what’s needed in the situation you’re in – maybe it’s agile, maybe it’s waterfall, maybe it’s a hybrid, maybe it’s pure lean.  Take the time to see what is going on and pick the right process and methodology for the personalities/project/time you have to do it.

Be smart.  Be engaged.  Be caring.

DEADLINES – how to survive

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines…it’s a constant in our work life.  Mix those in with home life to do’s and mandatory schedules – ‘I promised a date with my spouse tonight’! How do we survive?!?!

I do two things:

1)      Acknowledge there are seasons or cycles to everything.  Marketing is going be busy in the fall.  Selling is going to be heavy in the holidays.  Accounting is every winter/spring.  Kiddo’s sports/events/theater is every spring and fall.  You get the picture.  Somethings will get caught in that crunch – be kind to yourself and others.  It’s expected if you’re in the right frame of mind.

2)      Prioritize based on those cycles. 

Life: If you’re a tax accountant, a vacation in February is not a great idea.  But one in May – much appreciated and much more enjoyable.  Kiddo’s game on April 14???? – talk about it ahead of time.  When cycles collide, have someone else clean the house, increase your budget for takeout, make extra meals before hand for easy lunches. 

Work: Despite what it may feel like, not all deadlines are real and not all deadlines need to be kept – this is the secret.  Which ones are not real and not needing to be kept are something you learn.  In the meantime, talk to your boss(es) and explain the constraints (not the family ones) and find out which ones can slip.

Bottom line – be open, be honest, see what’s ahead of you so you’re prepared.  Being hit by a Mac truck that you could have avoided completely sucks!!!  That’s why you have to slow down.

 

Expectations

Expectations are TOUGH.  You need some of them but not too many of them and they need to be just above where you are, so you strive to be more but not too high and they need to be realistic, so you feel motivated.  How in the world can you make that work?  Especially as a matrixed project manager who doesn’t know these folks very well.

Expectations are CRITICAL. This is what gives your team the belief that they can do it.  But, can also demotivate them if it feels out of reach or not presented with appropriate belief.

How do you find that balance? You listen.Expectations

What is Accountability?

We talk about it all the time and we say we want it and need it.  But what is it really?

At its core, it is a system where individuals are expected to do what they say they are going to do, there is a process in place that remembers what they said, and they are asked to provide their results when it is due.  Sounds like a project plan and a ‘check off the boxes’ kind of project manager to me.  Is that really what we want, and will it really meet our needs?  If our only goal is to ‘get it done’ or ‘get it across the line’, then sure this will work, especially if the culture is reactive and focused on making money.

But, what if our goal is success?  To go beyond expectations and delight our customers?  Then what?  Then, we would need a system that supports the individual, where expectations are just above what’s feasible, where the project plan is a road map, where the project manager is more like an orchestral conductor than a bean counter, where people are responsible for doing what they said they would do, and they want to do it.

Then I agree, we need that.  We need a system of accountability.

accountability straight ahead.jpg