Talk about your character-building experience...
I was a young hot-shot project manager on an engagement that I had sold to a client. I had it all planned out and had delusions of completely delighting my client with an issue-free project. It all seemed so simple, then the project started...and never finished.
I'll spare you the gory details of my harrowing experience but what I can tell you is that I put more focus on selling and planning the project than I did on its execution. I took a naive attitude of the project being able to pretty much run itself with some junior analysts running the day-to-day aspects of the work. It blew up in my face and I got booted from the client never to return again. It was my inaugural visit to the project management guillotine.
Visiting the guillotine was very uncomfortable but at the same time was a great learning experience. It taught me that I not only needed to be good at planning a project, I also needed to excel in its delivery. It wasn't enough to be only peripherally involved in a project or to be its administrator. I had to know what was happening, be on the lookout for problems, and squash the problems before they had a chance to spin out of control. It taught me that I needed to avoid the guillotine by being able to execute. It was that simple: Execute or be executed.
Avoid a trip to the project management guillotine by keeping some of these simple tips in mind:
Being a great salesperson or schmoozer isn't enough to ensure your project delivers results. Great project managers know how to listen to their project and deliberately execute to ensure success. Fall short on the execution and you've pretty much guaranteed yourself a visit to the woodshed.
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