Friday, February 28, 2014

55: Enlightenment

The Project
I’ve spent most of this week working on the index to the book (a fairly tedious task in InDesign) but I’m nearly there at last.  Also at last it’s Friday so I’m off down to the Bridge Inn for a pint of something interesting after work.  It’s amazing how often I find enlightenment there!

As we get into the middle to later stages of a project the pressure of work, shortage of funds and the need to fix problems can start to take a toll on some team members.  The issue for the project manager is not only how to energize and keep the team motivated, but how to keep themselves motivated as well.  

We can all recognize the signs of a poor project manager when their shoulders start to droop and their face takes on a haggard look.  They can’t get what they need done and increasingly start to rush about; getting stressed and causing stress.  They get themselves worked up about things and start working themselves into the ground.  It becomes a downward spiral for them and the project team.  

The Way  
The wise project manager builds commitment by influencing, delegating, negotiating, team building and creating ownership (the soft skills).  He appears to be trouble free.  Problems are dealt with as they arise and cease to be problems.  He is relaxed, has time to smile and even sing (although he does not necessarily have a wonderful voice, it always raises a smile) and he can keep it up all day.  He is not excited, he is enlightened and enlightenment brings a continuous flow of energy.  

He who is filled with virtue,  
Is like a new born child.  
Wasps and snakes will not sting him.  
Wild beasts do not seize him.  
Grasping birds will not strike.  

His bones are weak, his muscles are soft,  
But his grip is sure.  
This is perfect harmony.  
Knowing harmony is constancy.  
Knowing constancy is enlightenment.  

To improve life speaks of the ominous.  
To control energy speaks of forcing.  
The exalted become decadent.  
This is not the way of the Tao.  
Whatever is contrary to the Tao will not last long.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

54: Ripple Effect

The Project
Still getting great feedback on the draft book from my peer reviewers (thanks guys). I think it’s starting to look quite good.  I am lucky to have worked with some great project managers, but I have also worked with some poor ones.

Poor project managers can have a really negative influence on their team.  Like rotten apples in a barrel they can infect those around them.  The ripple effect works because everyone has an influence on everyone else.  The more powerful the person is, the more powerful their influence will be.  

The Way  
The wise project manager grounds himself in the single principle so that his behavior is wholesome and effective.  This positive behavior influences the project team.  If the project team is positive and works well, then that team influences other project teams.  If all the project teams work well, then they influence the organization.  If the organization works well, it influences other organizations and so on.  

What is well established cannot be uprooted.  
What is well cherished abides.  
Generations will commemorate it forever.  
Cultivate it in yourself,  
Its virtue will be real.  
Cultivate it in the family,  
Its virtue will be abundant.  
Cultivate it in the village,  
Its virtue will be lasting.  
Cultivate it in the nation,  
Its virtue will abound.  
Cultivate it in the world,  
Its virtue will be everywhere.  

How do I know this is true?  
By looking inside myself.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

53: Materialism

The Project
I’ve started getting some excellent feedback/ideas/suggestions for Project, Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps from my peer reviewers. It’s great to have worked with some really talented colleagues over the years and ones that are prepared to help with a personal project like writing a book. Reviewing a friend’s work is not the easiest thing to do as it sometimes raises difficult decisions, do you tell them what you really think or keep quiet?

When faced with a difficult decision some project managers agonize about it for ages.  Should they do this or should they do that?  But for those that follow The Way, it is simple, it is always the easiest path to take.  Be still, be quiet and the way will become clear.  

The Way
Some project managers like to surround themselves with the trappings of success.  Fancy cars, lots of certificates for every course they have been able to attend (whether they needed it or not).  This busy path creates an exaggerated materialism, but excessive consumption is only possible by exploiting other people.  Did someone who really did need a course not go on it because of them?  

The world’s wealth is not evenly distributed and it’s getting ever worse.  Some have a great deal, while most have very little.  Everyone knows that we are running out of enough resources to go around.  Yet those who already have a lot still want more and more.  They brag about how much they have, but they got it by manipulating other people.  

The wise project manager leads a quiet and meditative life.  He does not seek to take more from the world than he needs.  He follows the simplest path and his projects will therefore be successful.  

The great Tao is plain and clear,  
But people love diversions.  
When the court is remote,  
The fields are barren and overgrown,  
The granaries are empty,  
Officials wear fine clothes,  
Carry sharp swords,  
Over indulge themselves with food and drink,  
Acquire excessive wealth.  
This is called robbery and bragging,  
It is not the way of the Tao!  

Friday, February 07, 2014

52: Remaining Flexible

The Project
I had some excellent feedback from two of the friends I sent chapter one to for peer review and it really helped me to sort it out. Hopefully it is now looking good but I await with some trepidation what they make of chapter two.

The Way  
Everything in the universe consists of polarities and project management is no different, typically it involves polarities of time, cost and scope (the iron triangle).  You can’t have more of one without a balancing change of one or both of the others.  Knowledge of this gives the wise project manager stability.  

From knowing how things work, the wise project manager also knows the importance of remaining flexible.  Everything that grows is flexible and all enduring strength is flexible.  The poor project manager tries to do and say too much, he is rigid and will break rather than develop.  

The wise project manager remains flexible and will therefore endure.  He is not afraid of losing for he has nothing to lose.  He is not afraid of dying for he is an aspect of the eternal; his home is the womb of creation, dying is going home.  

The world had a beginning,  
Which one might think of as the mother.  
When the mother is known,  
We can know her children.  
Knowing her children,  
We can hold on to the mother,  
Dying is not dangerous.  

Close the mouth,  
Close the senses,  
And life is free from suffering.  
Open your mouth, interfering,  
And life is beyond hope.  

Seeing details is called clarity,  
Remaining flexible speaks of strength.  
Using perspective,  
Return to clarity.  
This is called practicing constancy.