While we have the control to put forth consistent efforts, we cannot control when the rock starts moving or when the popcorn starts popping or when the money starts flowing. But we can use our heads and depth of thinking to plan, predict, and expect certain results in certain timeframes with due respect for the idea that success comes in spurts.
Keys to Consistency
Life is not linear. In fact, it is full of fits and stops, false starts, and accelerated actions that in the end produce change and results. However, on projects the results rarely come until the very end – when the project is complete.
This is a key concept for a project manager – the leader on projects. Indeed, it is extremely useful in many ways, such as:
- Motivating people
- Communicating progress
- Gauging where you are and assessing risk
These are three key parts of managing a project.
In motivating people, we not only need to have a clear picture of the end state of the project, but also a clear picture of how getting there will unfold. To keep people motivated, you need to give them a taste of success – from what they are doing in the short run, and from their own growing confidence in achieving the goal. As project leader, you need to be able to motivate by keeping in mind how success will unfold on the project.
In communicating progress to stakeholders, the project manager needs to be keenly aware of where and how the success spurts will happen on the project. As with motivating people, shorter, interim goals are helpful in gaining stakeholder confidence. In addition, painting a realistic picture of when the tipping points will occur is also an effective approach that requires skill and insight on the part of the project manager.
Pinpointing where you are on the way to the end state is not always easy as it is not always clear how close you are to the tipping point. You know you will have risks, and you need to educate yourself on the risks as much as possible. You also need to educate yourself on when the key tipping points – and spurts of success – will come so that you can effectively monitor and control the project.
Have you accounted for tipping points, or the idea that success comes in spurts, on your project?