Maybe, just maybe, project managers need to think of themselves as trainers and corner men (women) for the teams we are working with and the projects we are responsible for. There’s a certain rhythm in the preparation, fight-night and post fight that takes place for all professional fighters. There’s also a certain progression of ability for boxers and supporting staff, all based on prior success – success easily being defined in boxing as the last one standing.
Prior to any boxing event there’s around 12 weeks of intense training and preparation – aka boxing camp. The boxer starts ramping to top condition, the trainer and supporting staff get into the boxer’s skin, understanding abilities, gaps, trigger points, specific needs, etc. The training is the true determinate in the boxer’s ability to win, by the time the boxer enters the ring, he is just executing – utilizing his physical and mental conditioning and skill training from the prior 12 weeks. There’s always a chance for a stray/lucky punch from either side – but those are rare, the outcome is determined by the base ability and the recent training. How much training does a project manager and team have prior to a new project? Typically not much and maybe this is the one area that we need to focus on – REALLY focus on. After all, it’s all about the people – projects don’t get themselves done – right? Maybe we need to go through a few weeks of getting to know each other, setting up communication protocols, processes, tools, etc. before the next major project begins. These activities usually occur during the first few weeks of the project, causing strain, confusion and later on-rework. Sounds like a Boxer’s approach to PM is a good buzz sound bite…anyone up to writing a book?