Project Management

How to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and project manager living and working in London. She runs The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specializing in project management.

A delegate at a conference I was at recently asked a panel how best to deal with team members who regularly turned up at team meetings suggesting new products. The implication was that the team could spend all its time researching new apps and migrating data from one to the other. While it’s good to have some people in your team who are evangelists and keep up to date with tech trends, as project managers that’s not what they are employed to do.

So, how do you cope when your team constantly suggests that you give new tools a try?

Involve the Team
It might sound counterintuitive, but you really don’t want to shut your team down. Its enthusiasm and willingness to try new tools is something to be celebrated. The trick is in learning how to channel its energy into something that’s going to benefit the whole team, the department or the wider organization.

If you aren’t happy with the tools that you have in place, use your tech evangelists to do product research and to come up with a short list that they can test and report back on. If you already have products that you are using and are satisfied with, then involve them in different ways. For example:

  • Get them involved in training new starters.
  • Ask them to research “power user” or advanced functionality, and then brief everyone else.
  • Get them involved in linking your …

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"A good composer is slowly discovered. A bad composer is slowly found out."

- Sir Ernest Newman