On one of my recent ‘virtual coffees’ with some Project Management peers, we decided to play a game called: Project Management: would you rather? It’s a great ice breaker and is a wonderful idea to get to know more about people. You ask the other people which one they would rather choose. Option A or Option B. Playing this on Project Management concepts really allowed us to explore more about the complexities that we face on a daily basis. Here are some of the highlights:
Would you rather have: Poor stakeholder management or an impossible deadline?
This was a big topic for discussion. Here’s some of the arguments for both:
Poor stakeholder Management:
- You can work to change people but if deadlines are fixed, there’s nothing you can realistically do to speed things up
- People can be changed/removed to achieve your project objectives
- If the date if fixed, then you can look at what else can be changed (scope/cost)
- Deadlines can motivate people to work harder/more strictly so could be a motivator
Would you rather: be an incompetent Project Manager or work for an incompetent organisation?
This was another tough one. General incompetence as a Project Manager can have longer lasting consequences than just poor project delivery or success. It can be a personal demotivator as you realise your personal weaknesses.
Incompetent Project Manager:
- Demotivating if you realise that you are incompetent
- You can learn and improve your skills whereas an Organisation will struggle to change and it will take longer
- Incompetent Organisations may have limited impact on your daily life. In the short term, it can be managable.
- You can outrun a poor organisation, but not your own incompetence.
One of the questions/responses on the call said: “Well, couldn’t you argue that all Junior Project Managers are incompetent and therefore it’s a no brainer if you’re junior?” I argued that: if you are a Junior, you’re given an allowance for mistakes that you make BECAUSE you’re a junior. If you’re an experienced Project Manager but just a bad one… that’s worse than a poor organisation. You can outrun a poor organisation but not your own incompetence.
Would you rather: work for an difficult boss or have a difficult team?
This question took the longest time in our quick coffee session and I think it was because of the “People” nature of the question. Which is worst? A difficult boss that can stop your progression in the company? Make your daily very difficult and stressful? or a Team that refuses to work with you or cooperate to deliver the project?
- You could navigate around a difficult Boss with your sponsor/HR
- You may not always be working daily/directly with your boss so may not be a daily stress?
- A difficult Boss is one person… an entire team that refuses to work with you? A completely other headache!
- Team members could be replaced?
- You can manage team members but difficult bosses can do long term damage for your career
I’d like to challenge you to think about your answers to the questions above. Which one would you choose? Is there anything that you’d do to react/adjust to this?