Meaningful Work

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Categories: execution, strategy


Though it is a well-worn cliché, many technologists probably are less people savvy, while great communicators must rub the glaze from their eyes at the site of code. And business vision may be better left to the MBAs in the executive suite.

It's unrealistic to expect any one person to excel in all three areas. But ... a successful project must. And that won't happen by osmosis or timecards.

Strategy without the tactics to execute it is nothing more than hot air. Tactics without a strategy to give them purpose is just busy work.

No matter what the project, the business goals and the processes must be on a first-name business, or the results are destined to be a stranger to the original vision.

But is it up to the project manager and team to connect the strategic dots with tactics? If team members are providing the relevant technical expertise, and their leader is staying on top of the project management processes — status reports, budget and schedule, risk assessment — haven't they "covered" their responsibilities? According to the typical job descriptions, yes. But according to the reality of projects, there must be another obligation — or success is unlikely.

The unwritten obligation of all team members is to see beyond their individual pieces of the project puzzle, to understand the importance of their roles in the larger scheme, to care about the results off in the fuzzy distance. That, after all, is what gives work — any work — meaning.

And the obligation to care is not unrealistic to expect. In fact, it is more often the desire of skilled people, whether or not they are adept at communicating it. Perhaps that is why employees universally resist timecards. And why wouldn't they? Who wants to have his or her role reduced, in large part, to the monitoring of a clock? Doesn't that, in essence, reduce their contribution to just another quantitative metric instead of qualitative value?

Of course, timecards are important to understanding resource allocation. And performance, hopefully, is judged by many other measures, tangible and intangible. The point is, organizations won't get well-run, customer-focused, value-driven projects if those initiatives fail to address both the technical and business objectives.

So if project managers and team members are expected to deliver the tactical execution in the name of the strategic vision, then they also should be included, supported and rewarded in pursuit of that all-important connection. Are you?

Posted on: June 26, 2018 04:21 PM | Permalink

Comments (11)

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Aaron -

Purpose is critical - if we can't help our team members connect their internal drivers to the external company ones, it's an uphill battle to inspire them to perform at their best.

Kiron

Thank you Aaron

Thanks for the post!

Unless they are contractors, then it doesn't really matter as they are driven by different motivators.

Thanks for interesting article.

Building the big picture of why their day to day work matters is critical to Project and Company success. Good post Aaron.

Thanks for the information.

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