A Project Manager Is As Good As His Last Project

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Surely you have all heard the phrase: “a project manager is as good as his/her last project.” Today I want to share a story with you that will also illustrate this point.

In December (our summer holiday time) we went to a beautiful beach town where many people enjoyed their yearly leave. In this small town there are many small traders who sell things from the side of the road, on the pavement. It ranges from jewelery, sunglasses, souvenirs, clothes, etc. A lady who use to sell handmade dolls, walked across the road to give a doll to the daughter of a friend of her. When she crossed the street again to walk back to her stall, she was hit by a car and she died in hospital a few hours later from head injuries.

The following day there was a photo of the lady in the local newspaper with a picture of the 5 year old girl holding the doll that was given to her by this lady. She would always be remembered not only by her beautiful handmade dolls, but also by her last act of kindness, giving one of her precious dolls to a friend…

As a project manager I know this holds true for projects as well. People will remember you from your last successful project. For this reason it is very important to treat every project as if it is your last. It may be your last project for that specific client, or for that specific customer or with that specific team.

A project manager should not only look after his/her reputation, but also the perception of the project he/she is responsible for.  You should be doing the right things, but also doing things the right way in the eyes of your customer. Work with your team to please the customer.

Sometimes the customer requires small things, like providing refreshments at a Steering Committee meeting for senior managers, to keep him happy. Your team requires your support, your guidance and leadership, and consistent communication regarding project related work. If team members are treated with respect and much is expected of them for delivery, they will live up to your expectations.

Creating a culture of collaboration where team members provide feedback and discuss problems openly, will contribute to a successful project. Building good relationships with your team as well as your customer, is an essential ingredient for making your current project worthwhile to remember. When coupled with on budget, on-time delivery you will be remembered as a good project manager, but even if you don’t achieve the triple constraint (on time,within budget and with quality), but through good communication practices you managed to keep your team motivated and the customer happy, you have hit the target to execute a successful project – one people will remember you by!

By the way, being called back by customers for additional projects, is one of the best recommendations (and compliments) that a project manager can hope to receive.

Please comment and share if you have had good experiences with ‘last’ projects.

write by Farah


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