4 Ways to Manage a Project All-In
In the world of Poker there’s an expression that someone is “all in”. This means that this person thinks they have such a phenomenal set of cards that they’re willing to bet all of their chips on their current hand. It’s a risky move and one you need to be 100% sure about because you have the potential of losing everything. But, for those that are willing to take this calculated risk the payoff can be well worth the gamble.
Here’s a question for you: Are you “all in” when you plan a project? Are you willing and able to give 100% toward the success of the project that’s at hand? Or, do you hold some of your chips back, thinking that it’s not worth the investment of time, energy, and emotion to commit 100% toward the success of the project you’re working on?
You may say to yourself… “sure, I always give 100% toward any project I’ve been assigned.” That’s what we would like to have ourselves think. But sometimes reality may be very different to what we imagine. The following discussion will point out some of the ways you can be “all in” when you plan a project; some of the ways you may be holding back; and a list of 7 things you can do to give 100% when you plan and manage a project.
What it Means to be “All In” as a Project Manager
There are a number of signs you can look for when someone is all in as a Project Manager. The following are a few of these signs:
They Have High Energy
One sure sign that you can look for in a Project Manager, that is dedicated to making their project a success, is their extremely high energy level. They are there early in the morning, talking about the best way to plan a project. They have a snap in their step as they walk briskly from one meeting to the next. They speak in rapid-fire succession, rattling off facts, figures, next steps, dates, deliverables, risks and contingencies, as if they’re written on the back of their hand. They rally the troops around a common goal and keep everyone pointed in the same direction.
The Project Manager that’s all in is also extremely focused on what needs to be accomplished. They’re not distracted or divided over other activities that may be on their plate. Sure, they have other responsibilities, both from inside and outside the organization that are on their mind, but they’re able to “compartmentalize” these things and stay extremely tuned-in to the task at hand.
They Give 110%
Yeah, yeah, yeah…we all know you can’t give more than 100%, but those Project Managers that are all in somehow pull this off. When they plan a project, they make sure that no stone is left unturned. When they call a meeting, they make sure everyone is prepared to the enth degree. When they identify risks, you’re left wondering if they’re going to condemn the place! They make sure they do all they can to discharge their responsibility as a Project Manager and then do just a bit more for extra insurance.
Hopefully, the above-listed signs will help you – especially if you want to be a Project Manager who is engaged, active, and passionate in your position as the leader of a project.
What is the Opposite of “All In”?
Let’s take a moment and look at the opposite of All In. I guess you could say it would be All Out. Or, more realistically, it would be something along the lines of “sort-of” in. This is where the Project Manager sort of cares about what they’re doing, but also sort of doesn’t. Maybe they’ve been burned a number of times at their company. Maybe they’ve had some bad experiences or are still recovering from mistakes they made in the past. Whatever the case, they don’t have the same vim and vigor that the All In project manager carries with them.
- They Just Go Through the Motions – A Project Manager that is not truly engaged with a project will go through the motions of being a Project Manager. They’ll call a meeting, but do something else while everyone talks about the issue at hand. They’ll plan a project without digging into the details. They’ll send out only the most cursory status updates just so they can check it off their list of things that need to get done.
- They “Phone it in” – This can be in both the literal and symbolic sense of someone just phoning it in. We all know you can get more done as well as be more effective and efficient if you take the time to meet face-to-face. Especially if you’re in the same location! The Project Manager that just phones it in is content with never leaving their cubical or desk to meet face-to face. This is even if the people they need to meet with are in the office or cubical right next to them! Rather, they’ll set up conference call after conference call and multi-task checking email or working on something else while the team works through open issues.
- They Become Perfunctory in their Actions – The Project Manager who is not 100% engaged will set themselves on auto-pilot. They will live and die by an unwritten To-Do List of all the things that need to be done after they plan a project. Rather than take a moment to reflect on whether the next activity on the list is the best thing to do at this particular time, based upon the current circumstances, they’ll blaze forward to get it done – even if it isn’t the best thing to do.
How can you identify what this Project Manager looks like? The following are some signs: Unfortunately, we’ve all known Project Managers that fit the description above. The net result is that both they and their teams suffer because of this attitude.
4 Ways to Be “All In” As a Project Manager
Is there a formula for being 100% engaged as a Project Manager? Not really. You’ll know what it means when you see it. However, the following are seven characteristics you can adopt that will propel you into a new realm of project management.
- Be Passionate – Everyone is so concerned about being politically correct nowadays that people are relegated to being just an automaton – a mere cog in the wheel of the enterprise. Dispel this belief and vociferously stand up for those things you believe should be done for the good of the project.
- Get Upset or Be Disappointed – If something goes wrong or doesn’t go your way, it’s fine to be a bit upset or disappointed. We’re not talking about throwing chairs across the room (I’ve seen that, by the way) but every now and then you can have a bad day…and even let other people know about it.
- Get Excited – On the other hand, when things go better than expected or the project receives a great break along the way, a few fist-pumps here and there… or a yelp from across the room when you plan a project out… can go a long way toward energizing the team.
- Be Genuine and Real – Nobody likes someone who is fake – most times they can see right through such a facade. Make sure that whatever you’re doing is an expression of your real self and not some script that you think you should be playing out as a Project Manager. Knowing that you’re genuinely all in as a Project Manager, will draw your team, management and clients closer to you, and help you support the cause even more.
Go ahead…bet all your chips on the current projects that are under your management. You’ll be glad you did when you see your return on your team’s productivity, efficiency, and most importantly engagement! We’re All In when it comes to providing the best project management platform on the web! We were founded in 2008 by 3 guys who wanted to create a better toolset for managing projects.
In just 12 months of going live, we grew to 25 staff and a healthy revenue stream. We now have customers in more than 100 countries and we’re one of the fastest project management service providers on the net, with our customer base doubling every 8 weeks. More than 70% of our customers are based in the USA with organizations like NASA, United Nations, Boeing and Volvo all managing projects on our platform. Try ProjectManager.com free for 30 days and see what all the buzz is about!