Balance in a Project World


What is Balance?  Balance is a personal.  What one person desires will be very different than another.

As a project manager, you have to:

1)     Adjust to others

2)     Resolve problems

3)     Respond to team needs

In many ways, your balance is often impacted by the role that you play within an organization.

There have been many times that I personally have experienced Murphy’s law.  It seemed that just when I planned to do something for myself, someone else’s issue interferes with my plans.

So how can we keep this from happening?  One thing I have seen among the project manager personality, is the willingness to take ownership when no one else does.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  The reality is that companies don’t want “lone soldiers” or “Supermen/women”.  They want consistency in performance and accountability from all.

Tatyana Sussex wrote on the The LiquidPlanner Blog, “If you’re finding it hard to let go, think of this: By reducing your task list you can do a better job focusing on fewer tasks than being spread so thin.  Plus, by sharing your project riches, you might give your team members a chance to grow in their roles as well. A win for everyone.”

Your job as a project manager is to do the right thing consistently, and reduce the probability of a crisis happening. Many project managers are good tactically, but are less adept at team development, either because they’re new to the role, don’t feel like it’s in their wheelhouse, or simply because they expect everyone around them to understand the role and do their jobs effectively.  Yet, in most matrix organizations, people expect the project manager to develop the team and yet the project manager might not understand what each individual role in the project might be.  That’s why team development and mentoring those team members is so key to being an effective project manager—plus, it frees up your time to concentrate on other tasks. 

In Chapter nine on page 286 of my book ACHIEVE PMP® EXAM SUCCESS, 6TH EDITION, I clearly define that project managers ARE responsible for leading, motivating, influencing, and overall team development.  This helps eliminate any hiccups as the project unfolds. 

One strategy to eliminate any crisis, circumvent Murphy and provide some balance in your life is to take the time to train people and delegate.  In order to do that, you must:

a.     Identify the common reasons for having to be pulled in

b.     Devine and document how you solved it.

c.      Put other people on your calls.  You don’t have to be on every call.  Once in a while let someone cover for you?  And do a debrief

d.     Introduce those that back you up to new skills & prepare them for filling your shoes

For those “controllers” in the group, it does take time to do this well.  However, if you truly want balance, a little bit of preparation will go a long way.