Being Thankful, Project Management Style!

Tis the season for being thankful; the time of year when we take a step back and appreciate that which is around us. From family, to friends, to career, it’s time to take stock of what we’re thankful for.

I’ve been in project management for over 20 years. In that time I can say I’ve seen and learned a lot, though I also know I have a long way to go! For that reason, I’m thankful for this career and wanted to share what I’m thankful for.

For Governance. When it clicks, governance links strategic goals with capital investments (projects) and change management. It can ensure the right projects are selected at the right time. When it doesn’t click (which happens a lot!), I look at it as an opportunity for improvement.

For an Accountable, Engaged Sponsor. They are the ones who answer the phone when you call (or at least call you back within a reasonable amount of time). They ask questions, challenge you when your status report is always green, and jump in quickly when there is an escalation or a decision needs to be made.

For Supportive Stakeholders. When I say “supportive,” these people may not have wanted the project to be approved to begin with, but they understand its strategic importance and don’t try to sabotage anything. If they’re a personnel manager for someone you need, they won’t intentionally withhold support (though they probably want to!).

For a Dynamic, Cohesive Project Team. These are the “doers,” those who get the tasks done. They’re the team who deliver, have to listen to me sometimes push, and who I love to highlight when I tell stakeholders how we’re progressing with our project. I enjoy creating a culture of success and seeing team members grow personally and professionally. I’m always thankful for all they do.

For a Supportive Network of professionals. All you need to do is go into a project management LinkedIn group, see posted questions and read the insightful responses. I’ve learned a lot from reading questions and seeing the variety of responses that get posted.

For constant Learning Opportunities. Every effort I’ve lead is an opportunity to learn something new. From learning about accounting practices to deconstructing DNA, I’ve learned a variety of information from the efforts undertaken. By no means am I an expert in any one of them, but I want to learn enough to have constructive conversations with stakeholders.

For the Unique Personalities we interact with on an almost daily basis. From the meek and timid to aggressive and angry, you’ll work with all types of personalities in this profession! I’ve learned to identify different types and how to interact with them effectively.

And finally, the Relationships fostered over the years. One of my first project management peers and I still talk today! I’ve met so many great people who’ve shared their knowledge, mentored, and listened to me rant. They are all great people, and thankful for every one of them!

In this season of thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? Write a few down if it helps. Show your appreciation to someone or a group you’re thankful for. Have a great holiday season!

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