Some things a project manager should let go

Our great philosophies and spiritual thoughts tell us that we need to let go of our baggage to be happy and succeed in life. You need to let go of anger, of negative thoughts, of the need for approval from others, of the past etc. carrying these around only makes you unhappy, resentful and bitter.

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These thoughts come from centuries and millennia of experience. In fact, the Buddha was one of the first people to talk about this need in a smile way.

A project manager too has to let go of things to succeed as a project manager. What are the things he has to let go?

First of all, she has to let go of the baggage of her old project or her old job. She may have had experiences in her last project that left a bad taste in her mouth. She may be carrying some bitterness or some resentment about some of the team members, some of the stakeholders and some of her managers. It is important that she forgives and forgers any perceived wrong done to her in previous projects. Believe me, many a time if a project is not going well, the project manager starts blaming, at least in her mind, this team member or that. This then builds up and becomes resentment against those team members.

That was on the people side. The project manager also needs to let go of some of the baggage of the experiences of the last project. The refrain of many a project manager is “My next project will be perfect.” The project manager overcompensates for her shortcomings in the previous project by trying to make things perfect in this project. This will drive all stake-holders nuts. One common example is “minute”ing each meeting to the minutest detail. She is overcompensating because in her last project she did not insist on minutes being captured and got her fingers burnt as a result. She has to let go of her previous bad experiences.

Some of these overcompensation behaviours is particularly evident in a project manger’s second project. The so-called second-project effect is very commonly seen among project managers.

There are many things that the project manager needs to let go during the running of her project. One key thing is to know what to delegate and how to delegate. You have to let go of the approach that you can do everything. Many a project manager is seen running around in circles jumping in all directions because they have not let go of many responsibilities and authorities. You cannot do everything. You need to let go. You need to let go of the feeling that you have to control everything.

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The sign of a true leader is that she has decentralised control. This not only makes for better decision making and less work for the project manager but also allows for the emergence of natural leaders from among her team. This in turn ensures the retention if key staff members of the project.

Of course, a project manager has to know how to wand when to let go of employees. It is a very stressful thing to fire employees. But sometimes it is important for the well-being of a project that some of the underperformers and some of the trouble-makers be asked to leave. This is a key skill that the project manager has to learn early in life.

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Another important thing for a project manager in her job is letting go of anger and stress in the current job. There are various techniques that are offered up for this. A bit of searching will help you find some if these techniques in the net.

What do you think?

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