After years managing projects, many graphic displays of what my job represents came to my mind, but there’s a special one that remained and reinforced through time. Mainly, it represents my every day work in reference to managing the work and the project team.
Create the environment where the team can and wants to give the best of themselves
My number 1 mission is to provide the means and the environment for the project team to carry out the work that must be done at that moment. A good representation of myself in that moment is me building a bubble around the team to avoid any problem, interruption, etc. from distracting them from their job.
I found that the concept of “team bubble-building” is described in many different ways by different authors through time. In Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister’s book Peopleware it is mentioned that…
“A Project Manager’s job consists in creating the environment in which every team member can and wants to give the best of themselves”Tom DeMarco
Tom DeMarco also tells an anecdote from the days when he worked in a project that was going through a peak of work. His project manager, who saw that he kept working during lunch time, went to the cafeteria and brought him soup. Surprised, he told her “With all the things you have to do to manage this project, how do you get the time to bring me food?” She answered expertly: “What I’m doing is managing the project”.
“The art of leading is to get the people who you are working with to reach and keep an optimal performance condition (Flow State)”Daniel Goleman
This Flow State is characterized by having an imperturbable attention (maximum focusing), by being flexible and adaptable (you can do anything that comes to you), by having the skills challenged at the maximum level and, also, by feeling good. This is the condition I pursue in my team when I build them that bubble. What is curious is that the graphic display of flow state reminds us a lot of a bubble…
Stay ahead of schedule and fix obstacles and risks
My number 2 mission is to open the way. The project team works in the tasks planned for today; and tomorrow in the ones planned for tomorrow. Meanwhile, I, as a project manager, must work in the tasks planned for next week or next month, opening the way so when these tasks become the ones to be carried out today, the problems, interruptions and obstacles don’t pull the team out of their bubble and the project can move forward imperturbably.
Do you feel identified with this representation of the project manager’s role in the project team management? Do you have another one? Share it!