The Symphony Orchestra Conductor interprets a composer's score to set the tempo for the Orchestra. The conductor stands most of the time on a raised podium with a baton, but also uses hand gestures and body language to convey the emotions of the musical score to the orchestra.
Will an orchestra function without a conductor? Yes, the show will go on with some inconsistent interpretations of the score. Will there be a good review of that Symphony? Highly unlikely unless they get lucky.
Being a Conductor is an art. Just because you can play beautiful music does not mean you can conduct. The Symphony Orchestra needs a Conductor to be successful on their delivery of music.
The Project Manager is that point person that guides a team to complete tasks on time. The tasks can be completed independently of each other or they need to be completed in a defined order of dependencies to accomplish a deliverable. All the tasks make up a project with a defined scope to deliver results.
Being a Project Manager requires the ability to have a vision on how you will deliver a project on schedule by guiding your team members to stay focused on their part in the project. Every team member plays an important role no matter how small they think their part is. No room for slackers or weak links that will comprise the team's rhythm.
Will a team function without a project manager? Yes, it's done all the time. Will the project be on time within a budget? I don't recommend taking chances without a project manager because you might be lucky to have some good team members that can guide the team to a successful delivery of a project. That might not be the case all the time.
Being a Project Manager is an art too. The delivery of projects on schedule within a budget is like a Symphony Orchestra Conductor that delivers a beautiful Symphony with a standing ovation at the end. That's why the Project Manager is the Symphony Orchestra Conductor of Projects. They deliver results. No standing ovation, only pure satisfaction for the team delivering a successful project.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in April 2017)
I had an experience of a flaming email years ago from a contractor Mr. PMP type. He was an arrogant you know what. That contractor sent out an email to a distribution after hours to slam me on something. I was out of the office already having dinner. I had a smartphone and was composing a response and before I could send my response out I received an email from a team member responding to that flaming email defending my position on the issue. She slammed Mr. PMP with facts that put the arrogant Mr. PMP in his place. She made it easy for me, all I had to do was thank her and concur with her email and case is closed. By the way Mr. PMP did not respond back. Silence is golden. When you gain respect from your team and have a reputation people will defend you and stand by you. It's a priceless good feeling that you are making an impact on your team.
Mr. PMP never spoke to me again and avoided me. What a cry baby he can only dish it out, but when he is proven wrong he won't admit it. We don't need Project Managers that behave this way to discredit the profession by acting arrogant and unprofessional. Mr. PMP was an older gentleman that should have known better on how to exercise people skills.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in April 2014)
* This incident happened a long time ago. Please use email responsibly.
It's Aloha Friday morning on my way to work and I get get a call from the Data Center that the mission critical system for the organization is acting strange. Users are unable to access the system. Moments latter I get a text page from the system that a process that needs to run is gone. I had scripts monitoring the system so I knew something bad happened.
I logon on to the system and it's not normal and the process that needs to be running was missing. I spoke with the Data Center staff and determined that an operator error caused the problem. The database that was in production was an interim database version to migrate to a new permanent database later in the month. It had known bugs that we just stepped on by accident.
I call an emergency meeting with management to brief them that the database has been corrupted. I contacted the application vendor to take a look at the database integrity. I advised management to implement downtime procedures. Hours elapsed working to fix the database with no luck. The database cannot be repaired. My only option now is the last system backup. I asked the Data Center Manager to bring the backup tapes to me. I’m holding in my hands the tapes of the mission critical system of the organization. I need a successful restore to minimize the window of data loss.
I call another meeting to break the bad news to management and staff. It’s going to be a long night we need to inform our users that the system will be down for an extended time and we will be giving periodic updates on the recovery progress. Key personal needs to be on standby and available when called.
The restore process is initiated. Restoring a large system takes hours and patience waiting for it to complete. Once the restore completes we need to run the integrity checker utilities to make sure no corruption exists on the restore. The system was validated to release back to the users with some minimal data loss between the backup and the time of the database corruption. Made some minor tweaks on the system. It's back on-line for everyone to use.
I got in the office at 8am Friday and it’s now Saturday 8am. I just experienced a System Administrators nightmare. When you are coordinating a major Disaster Recovery effort it's all about teamwork. You need to remain calm as you become the point person that knows everything that's going on. All eyes are on you. My Project Management experience definitely came into play on this recovery effort that had to be put together on the fly. You really know what you are made of when you go through an experience like a major system outage. It's a real good feeling seeing everyone work together as a team.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in February 2015)
* This incident happened a long time ago and I will never forget it. Technology has come a long way since that disaster. Today's technology can provide a faster recovery from a major disaster.
The character Winston Wolfe aka "The Wolf" from the movie "Pulp Fiction" is what every Project Manager should be like. Exude confidence, not arrogant, in control, charismatic, accountable, and able to respond fast.
Project Managers are called upon to deliver results on-time within a budget. They are under pressure to get the job done. You could come across at times as a bossy Project Manager when dealing with sensitive people. Some people just get offended when you deliver your orders to them. Deal with these people by making some adjustments to your style to reach them better so they don't feel offended. You have no time to make enemies when you are on a tight deadline. Don't play hardball with these people. Get them onboard with you. If they are a lost cause dump them, because you have no time for pretty please with sugar on top of it.
Always keep your composure. You are the center of focus with everyone relying on you to direct them.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in July 2015)
Your child is going to Kindergarten, you are going to leave your child’s education and care in the hands of a professional that has a goal to reach at the end of the school year. Prepare the children for 1st Grade. The teacher will be in charge of twenty children ages 5 to 6. With that many kids some ground rules need to be set so that everyone in the class knows the expectations.
The teacher gives the parents and children a tour of the classroom and playground to familiarise them and presents the class rules.
The Project Kickoff meeting is when you assemble all your team members with stakeholders in attendance watching you layout how you are going to run the project. Think of the stakeholders as parents that want the project team members to succeed.
The project manager presents the project to the team showing the project timeline and tasks assigned to the team. The expectations of the project manager is conveyed to the team that a weekly status meeting will be held on Fridays. Be prepared to report your status and if you cannot attend make an effort to email your status report by 5pm. I’m keeping it simple to illustrate the point I’m making on what team members are responsible for.
Whether you are teaching Kindergarten or running a project you need to set the ground rules and expectations from the beginning and develop and refine it along the way. Setting up expectations and ground rules will avoid any assumptions and make everyone’s job easier by knowing what is expected of you.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in May 2015)