A Lesson in Effective Communication

Suzie Dang is a Project Manager and Scrum Master for Lululemon in Canada.

A significant part of project management is effective communication. I didn’t start my career as a project manager, rather in civil engineering. My first project as a project manager went as smooth as a baby’s bottom. There were small issues that arose, but nothing large enough to cause impact that would derail the train. My team was amazing in that if I had decided to leave for a week or two, the project would continue to run smoothly and I had nothing to worry about.

My second project, not so much. Turns out, I did such a great job with my first project, my director had decided I’d be more than fit to save a project from the flames. Having no idea what “saving” a project entailed, I tried to hit the ground running as that was expected of me.

I soon came to the realization that there were many contributing factors that lead to the project being derailed and unable to hit the projected go-live date. One of the main reasons was with the technical lead on the project. There were issues with performance and lack of attendance; as a leader on the project, that impacted time-sensitive decisions and productivity of the team.

I approached my technical lead, took him out for coffee and had a discussion with him. I wanted to understand the purpose of his actions. He was pretty straightforward in his response: He did not want to be a technical lead …

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"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

- Voltaire