The change in environment seemed to have an immediate impact on the meeting. Normally quiet members were suddenly asking questions and sharing tips. Away from the formal table, it felt like a group of friends having a chat. And the conversation was free and easy.
Today, a good project manager is focused on people instead of artifacts. Relationships rather than registers. Soft skills and leadership are, and will continue to be, crucial skills for a project manager. The great ones aren't just updating our sponsors and stakeholders. They have a seat at the table and a real opportunity to influence them. And by extension, the business.
NYPD Blue, one of my favorite TV shows, just returned to streaming. As I was watching an episode last night, I realized that the scene in every episode where the uniformed officer runs all of the known details for the detective is a great narrative device to move the story forward and get the viewer invested in the episode. I don't think it was invented by the writers at NYPD Blue and it's in almost every police procedural. It usually starts something like this:
I watched the kids scatter - running down rows and up aisles - trying to judge where the ball would land. As the youngsters began to settle on their marks, I noticed a young man out of the corner of my eye. He wasn't going around the seats like the others, he was plowing straight ahead and over the empty rows. After negotiating one row, he slipped on the second and face-planted into a soaking wet seat back. Even that didn't deter him. He jumped up and continued in a straight line.