Being part of a project is nothing for the faint-hearted. The clock is ticking while chasing the impossible in a speed car on a slippery road with grouching passengers on the back seat.
With shorter technology cycles, more change and agile project frameworks, it seems we are never getting out of projects. 20 years ago, when a project was over, there was time for teams to breath between projects. But nowadays, it sometimes seems that projects are piled on one another and yes, often out of control. And in most cases project managers are not Vin Diesel.
All these emotions…
Everyone knows the moral and competence phases of change management: Shock, denial, frustration, depression, experiment, decision, integration.
On projects this cycle is on steroids. Sometimes all these emotions in just one day and the process looks slightly different: Shock, denial or blaming, frustration, struggling, decision, go on with more pressure. Learning, improvement, and integration are theoretically part of agile methods but in practice it’s a truck stop sign on the highway, ignored until the tank is empty, and it’s not focused on the people working in the project.
Most projects have a low success or on budget rate. And often the low success rate contributes to the emotional backlog that is dragged from one sprint to the other.
That doesn’t mean to open a JIRA ticket for a therapy session, but to think of how to create awareness and establish productive and happy teams. This might seem soft and unnecessary but especially in larger projects people leave, take knowledge with them and frustrated project members just do what’s necessary to keep it moving. But frustrated teams come with price tags: Low efficiency and low quality of the outcome.
Most people only like watching speed cars, but not the experience sitting in one…
Another consequence is that employees start avoiding projects after one experience. But we live in a world where innovation and change are key to success. Projects are part of change. Companies cannot afford project tiredness within the organization. It is important for companies and projects to establish a positive project experience. And not a scary, near-death experience in speed car.
So, what can you do if Vin Diesel is already booked for a movie?
The good news is: You don’t need Vin Diesel. Coaching can be part of the project. Specialized professional coaching empowers project managers to drive the speed car, creates pit stops to think and recalibrate and thus, achieve a new professional level. Combining group and 1:1 coaching meetings during project phases increases the success, creativity, and satisfaction of the entire project and team members.
A project will never be a pleasant ride through picturesque landscape, but it can be a positive experience with favorable career effects.