Project Management

Quiting Isn't Easy if You Never Do It

From the Strategic Project Management Blog
As an "accidental" project manager, it's very satisfying to contribute to the project management community online with anecdotes and stories I've picked up from my own experience. I hope you enjoy our daily conversation.

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Tell Me You're Going to Get This Done

Quiting Isn't Easy if You Never Do It

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Being the Olympics junkie I am, I spent part of my afternoon watching the US Women's Volleyball team play a team of very talented athletes from Turkey. "To me one of the important characteristics of a great team is how they perform when there is nothing on the line," U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "I thought our team really honored the moment of competition tonight. Like the true Olympians they are, they came and battled tonight. I am really proud of that and happy with the performance. I think we even got a little better tonight in a few areas. This is what we are always trying to do with each match—get better."

Even though the US Team had already secured the top seed in going into the quarterfinals, they didn't roll over and play a rest game. They fought hard to remain undefeated against the also undefeated Turkish team. As quoted on the USOC Press Box yesterday, "We played for ourselves," said Captain Lindsey Berg in regards to having already qualified as the top seed into the quarterfinals regardless of the match results. "We didn't want to dilly-dally because there would be no benefit in that. We needed to keep in our rhythm."

It doesn't take much to make the comparison to the badminton fiasco, but I won't say any more about that.

I think this is an attitude that project teams should imulate. The US team went into Sunday undefeated—as did the Turks. Both teams fought to win, making it exciting for the spectators to watch and the teams to play. They psyche of a winner is important, always playing to win (even if you don't) is what makes good teams great. I think that applies to any endeavor, including project teams.

Have you ever seen a scope change or compromises in project objectives initiatied for no other reason than to make the project easier? To meet an arbitrary deadine diminishing the value of an otherwise important project because the team needed to cut corners so someone could say, "We got it done"?

I'm not suggesting that sometimes adjusting expectations isn't necessary, but the more a team compromises, the easier it becomes. Creating an environment where people can perform at their best requires that we have high expectations for everyone on the team. I've observed that most of the time, this results in peak performance by everyone on the team. I'm convinced that people want to do their best. Nobody woke up this morning and thought, "Today I really wanna suck." Our job is to create an atmosphere where they can perform at their best. Part of that is creating a culture like the US Women's Volleyball Team, where it's important to give our best in every game.

What are you doing to foster an environment where your team can perform at their best?

Posted on: August 07, 2012 08:53 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Mahalmadane Touré Engineer| National Headquarters of Geology and Mines of Mali (Bamako) Mali
Thanks for sharing.

Alaa Hussein Program Manager| MEMECS Baghdad, Iraq
Totally agree, thanks for sharing!

Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Ty
Very interesting is your reflection
Thank you for sharing

It is important to retain:
1. "Creating an environment where people can perform at their best requires that we have high expectations for everyone on the team"
2. "Our job is to create an atmosphere where they can perform at their best"

ravi gehlor Project Control specialist| Fluor Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

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