The recently gained motherhood has taught me heaps of management lessons that I think any course or certification wouldn’t provide. I also happened to read a post by Jennifer (Zankan) Berson where she explains why moms make kick-ass entrepreneurs & employees. I thought these ‘mom-skills’ would help a lot and can be adopted for better outcomes while delivering IT projects.
Here are examples of some of the important project management knowledge areas and my thoughts of managing them in a ‘mom-style’.
- Communication management:
We understand the power of communication and start talking to our babies well before they are even born. This same experience should be applied when it comes to delivering a project. Start communicating with every stakeholder even before the formal kick-off. Tighter and preferably daily collaboration with customers, distributed teams and sponsors is a must! Have complete transparency within the group and provide visibility to everyone concerned. In one of our recently kicked off projects, daily status updates won us the client’s confidence within a week’s time. It gave us the confidence that we were on the right track.
- Quality management
Sterilise, sanitise, clean, wash, dust – I remember doing these day in day out to ensure that my baby is protected from all sorts of infections, viruses, and bugs. Well, do I even have to say anything more when it comes to project quality? Project hygiene reviews are an absolute must to keep the project healthy and achieve expected quality. This reviews should be done frequently according to the project and should encompass all the deliverables of the project. Don’t let the bugs bite!
- Risk management
No matter how much you try to set the routine, each day (and night) is different with a baby. It is always full of surprises, good and bad. Expect coos, jibber jabber, first smile or even colic and rashes.
As a good manager, you must have identified all the risks and prepared mitigation and contingency plans but you still need to be ready for last-minute surprises. You also need to provision for it. They say that the babies know if the mother is uncomfortable. Similarly, your customers will know if you are not confident about the delivery. Patience and cool-headedness is what you need in handling situations.
- Project Integration management
A mother has to go through sleepless nights, spend the day without resting, eat and feed well, take care of the household cliché and yet remember the vaccine schedule. Perhaps, this all is possible because a woman’s brain is wired differently. Here, everything is connected to everything!
But doesn’t the PM need to do it while integrating a project? Connect everything with everything else and focus on things that matter. If you have an eye for detail, wonderful. If you don’t, then develop that skill because project integration is a critical task and needs attention.
In a nutshell, treat your projects like your baby, take care of it, love it and leave the rest to the baby to bring smiles on your face. There is no way to be a perfect mother (manager in our context)….but a million ways to be a good one!