In yesterday’s PM Minute, I talked about my morbid fascination with the failed Fyre Music Festival and the documentaries that recently hit Netflix and Hulu. Particularly, Netflix’s Fyre: The Party That Never Happened. The Hulu movie is a good watch but seems to be more of a study of Billy McFarland. The Netflix version, however, spends a lot of time examining the genesis of the show and the effort to pull it off.
That’s why I believe that having a mentor is one of the three critical professional relationships. I don’t work for that executive any longer, but we stay in regular contact. In fact, we’re having breakfast this morning. He’s someone that I trust and can go to for professional advice and honest feedback.
So, if this were a project, it’d be tempting for the PM to think things went very well. After all, the requirements were correct and the service was delivered on time and on quality. But, we were left alone for much of the duration to wonder how things were going and whether we’d get what we needed in the end.
All of that is a great example of why you should think about, and involve as much as possible, the user while building your solution and completing your project. Of course you won’t have a customer on your project team. But, always try to have someone on the team who is relentlessly focused on the user experience and heavily involved in review and testing. You’ll save your customer from a bunch of pop-ups, reboots, and do-overs.
The idea for today’s PM Minute comes from the convergence of unique circumstances at my house. First, today is the Martin Luther King holiday and everyone – from our college-age son down to the grade schooler is home. Second, there was a substantial snow storm over the weekend so it’s unlikely that anyone will leave the house. Finally, I’m working from home today and am grounded at home due to the same storm.
Finally, you can decide to simply enjoy the experience and accept the risk as part of trying something new. That’s where we found ourselves Friday night. My wife and I already ate lunch at the Sugar Bowl during Christmas vacation so we knew that the food was great and that everyone in the family would find something they liked on the menu of burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream.
Leadership of projects is not really different than leadership in general. In the ideal structure, the sponsor is the senior manager who sets the vision then trusts and empowers the PM to execute it. The sponsor stays engaged enough to establish attention and priority throughout the organization, but does not micromanage or undermine the role of the PM and the rest of the team.