Friday, December 27, 2013

46: No Win/No Lose

The Project
I finally managed to finish chapter 9, it’s been a struggle but like they say there is no gain without pain.

It’s good to have a happy project team as it tells you that things are going well.  But there will always be conflicts of opinion in the team, that’s only right and natural.  There is no point in the project manager trying to stamp these out, as they actually create energies which are creative forces.  Many times a spark of genius or a great idea will evolve from heated discussion about the different ways of doing something.  

But a poorly run project can look like a battlefield.  If the project manager loses sight of how things happen, differences of opinion will turn into quarrels which can begin to devastate the team.  This all comes down to the project manager’s attitude.  Wanting to be right will blind people to the real work of the project.  

The Way  
There should be no personal wins and no personal losses in project team work.  The wise project manager knows that it is important to be content with what is actually happening and not get worked up about what might or might not happen.  The only thing that matters is the team.  If the project manager nurtures the team they will be successful.  

When the Tao is in the universe,  
The horses haul manure.  
When the Tao is absent from the universe,  
War horses are kept near the city.  

There is no greater calamity than greed,  
No greater misfortune than avarice.  
So he who knows that enough is enough,  
Will always have enough.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

45: Appearing Foolish

The Project
I’m onto chapter nine (Managing a Portfolio) and it is quite hard work making it non repetitive and interesting but I continue to slog away at it. I’m trying to make it as simple as possible at the risk of appearing foolish!

Some project managers like to be seen as experts on everything and they are always ready to give their views on the right way to do something, regardless of how little they actually know about it.  

The Way  
The wise project manager tries to keep things simple and when he speaks it is often to say something obvious and it can sound simple.  Because what he says is also honest it may seem perplexing.  The project manager’s stillness may even appear to be foolishness.  But the project manager’s stillness overcomes the team’s agitation.  The project manager’s consciousness is his primary tool and this is what gets things done.  

Great perfection seems defective,  
Yet its function is not spoiled.
Great abundance seems agitated,  
Yet it cannot be exhausted.  

Great straightness seems crooked.  
Great dexterity seems clumsy.  
Great eloquence seems awkward.  
Purity and stillness set things in order in the universe.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

44: Owning or Owned

The Project
I'm into implementing portfolio management now (chapter eight) and it’s difficult not repeating stuff in implementing program management as there is so much overlap. But I’ll just get it all down on paper and then try and differentiate a bit. Sometimes I wonder why I do it but it’s like deciding to become a project manager, it seemed like a good idea at the time. There’s probably as many reasons for becoming a project manager as there are project managers. 

Good project managers do it because they enjoy managing projects and bringing change to their organizations.  Wise project managers also want to develop the people on their project teams to make them more effective and develop themselves so they become better people. However some project managers just do it in order to get ahead and earn more money.  

The Way  
The problem with owning a lot is that the more you have the more you have to look after.  The poor man doesn’t need to lock his door; the rich man has to live in a gated enclosure surrounded by security.  The more you have, the more you have to lose.  Is that owning things or being owned by them?  The wise project manager knows that giving up things will make him truly richer.  Be still and discover your inner security.  

Reputation or oneself, which matters more?  
Wealth or happiness, which is more valuable?  
Success or failure, which is worse?  
Great attachment will lead to great waste.  
Excessive hoarding will lead to heavy loss.  
A contented man avoids disgrace.  

Friday, December 06, 2013

43: Gentle Intervention

The Project
I have just finished chapter 6 (implementing program management) but had to go back and make a few changes to earlier chapters to keep everything consistent. Just starting on chapter 7 (managing a program) and I’ll end up having to make changes to chapter 6 so I don’t duplicate anything. There’s a nice symmetry to all this.

Many things can cause conflicts on a project: schedules, budgets, technical opinions and administrative procedures to name but a few.  The project manager has to deal with these conflicts to keep the project on track and I have known some project managers that take the approach of confronting problems head on.  

The Way  
The wise project manager takes a more gentle approach.  If there is a problem, he tries to identify the cause of the difficulty.  If someone is being difficult, the wise project manager is assertive about the issue but does not over-react.  He is gentle with them and explains what he wants to achieve.  But if that doesn’t work, he still does not over-react, he steps back and yields knowing that their resistance will relax.  The wise project manager realises how much how little can achieve.  

The softest thing in the universe,  
Overcomes the hardest.  
That which has no substance,  
Can penetrate where there is no space.  
I thus understand the value of being motiveless.  
Teaching without words.