Across my career, I have regularly needed to manage projects. From technology implementations and resource development, to space and website redesigns and assessment programs, the oversight and management of a wide variety of projects was critical to the success of the units I led, the committees I served on and the organizations with which I volunteered. But juggling the day-to-day duties of my primary roles along with managing projects was often challenging - corralling disparate staff, stakeholders and vendors, budgeting resources, allocating tasks and maintaining tight timelines can be tough (to say nothing of the constant battle against scope creep!).
Despite the challenges, managing projects has always been one of my favorite roles. For me, project management is a form of facilitation - managing projects is about connecting and supporting people and leveraging resources towards a common goal. The tools and techniques of project management simply make reaching a collective and complex goal easier. A project scope articulates a desired outcome and helps to target our efforts. Tasks, timelines and budgets keep a project moving, allowing us to plan, track and analyze our progress and pivot when needs change or challenges arise. Good project management provides the scaffolding to support people in reaching a goal, allowing for consensus, collaboration and flexibility while keeping us focused on outcomes.
To see an endeavor go from design to delivery is rewarding, even more so when the effort was truly collaborative. When I could bring together the ideas, skills and strengths of a group, and support them in moving a project forward, I felt like I was doing my best work and serving others. Even when we didn’t reach our desired outcomes (or our outcomes weren’t as desirable as we had imagined), I still found value in the collaborative effort and enjoyed the process.
What do you find rewarding or challenging about managing projects?
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