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Project Management against the collar? Simple ways to make things work

By Jess Hill, Application Support Analyst, Marval


This is a shot of my dogs: Radar on top, Jethro and Merlin on the bottom.

People say we can learn a lot from our pets, e.g. how to just enjoy life as it comes, how to express affection or how to build strong and loyal bonds. I believe there’s a lot more to learn from them and we could use them as an example not just in our personal but in our work life too.

While I was driving to work a few days ago, a dog ran out on the road. Luckily cars were almost at a standstill so it was fine but what annoyed me, and I have seen this a lot lately, is that the dog was on an extension lead, clearly wasn’t properly trained, therefore the owner had no control.

Don’t ask why, but that got me thinking about project management – probably because of all these ITSM implementation projects! We have all seen implementation projects being on a leash (i.e. a dead line and a set project with boundaries / scope) and many times the project managers have minimum or no control over the project / people / process (this is when things start to fall apart).

I was wondering whether project managers could be more like the responsible dog owner who has taken their dog through training, uses a normal non-extension lead to walk the dog at heel and when they get to the park then release the dog knowing it will only go so far and then come back. This dog owner has set the expectations right from the beginning and has been communicating with their pet properly at all times; so they should expect to have full control over their pet, and get the desired outcome (a hassle-free and safe walk, at this instance).

For a successful project you need constant communication and updates, as you can have many people working on different parts at the same time that need to come together. You also need to trust the people you are working with and, instead of having an “extending lead” with no control or trust, you want the lead to walk together, giving the team enough space and freedom to work and then come back and bring it all together.

ITSM implementation projects can be tricky and require the project manager to have full control at all times. Project teams need their space to work effectively, too; not as isolated individuals, but as indispensable parts of the same team. A great process can help the implementation team be aware of pre-set expectations, have clear responsibilities, be accountable and be informed; and the project manager to keep projects under control.

That’s what my dogs taught me today, it may seem silly but nature has a way of telling you many things so always keep your eyes and ear open!

Always be safe when dog walking; extending leads are great for training but not a substitute for it - Just like a great Project Manager already knows.




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