Category Archives: V

V is for… Victory

So, you’re at the end of your project and it’s finally gone live and, best of all, it’s working! Well done you, it’s a good feeling isn’t it?

You’ll probably have a bit of a euphoric feeling. Like some other analogies in this guide, it’s a bit like winning a battle against all the odds, despite other people and projects. Yes, it is a victorious time; lap it up, the next one is undoubtedly just around the corner. Maybe, like the Red Baron, you can slap a little silhouette on the side of your metaphorical triplane; another one down, now who’s next?

Ensure you remember it wasn’t just you that made this a success. Make a point of thanking your people, your team, they need to know you are grateful for all the hard work they have undoubtedly put in. Take the time to thank them personally because then they know you appreciated their contribution and that you’re not all taking the credit for the success yourself. It will also make it easier when the time comes to recruit a team for your next project; people who feel appreciated will want to work for you again.

This is also a good time to position yourself, with those who have influence, as the go-to guy/gal if you want your projects delivered successfully. that way, you should hopefully have more choice on your next assignment, or maybe just that they will listen more carefully when you make your demands at project start-up time.

V is for… Vapourisation

Sometimes you are stuck with people on your project that you could, quite frankly, do without. They may just not be up to the job, or there may be something else they bring to the party that detracts from the team’s ability to deliver.

This can happen for a number of different reasons; Perhaps you inherited them when you took over the project. Perhaps they have been foisted on you as a result of a management decision. Perhaps they were sold to you as a guru, or the best person for the job.

The assumption here is that you cannot simply remove them from the project, because you would have by now and you wouldn’t have a problem. So you need another way out. One option is to minimise the effect of these people, but sometimes Vapourisation is the only way.

One thing to bear in mind is that whining about your resources is never a good thing. People will think you’re just making early excuses for your future lack of delivery, or label you as a whiney project manager. But, more importantly, always remember that it’s your team that will deliver the project, under your excellent guidance of course, so it’s probably best not to alienate them. So removal by stealth is the key.

One approach is to give them responsibility for the delivery of something, ideally not too critical, and let them prove their obsession with their chosen speciality subject gets in the way of delivering, effectively letting them fall on their over zealous sword. Now, you’ve proved they’re no good, they should be ripe for removal…

V is for… Value For Money

If you have to staff up a project from scratch, there’s a good chance you will not have all the skills and resources you need on day one. If you cannot beg, borrow or steal the resources from within your organisation, a common way to plug some gaps in your team, or bring in specialist knowledge, is to use contract resource.

Some of these guys are expensive, some are extremely expensive. But you have to weigh this up against what you get for your money. As they say, if you pay peanuts, you can expect to attract monkeys.

However, you cannot assume that because someone is expensive, they are any good; you have to apply the usual sensible measures when you recruit and select the right candidate(s). Check them out, interview them well, make sure they know their stuff and that you think thay will add value to your team.

If the ones you think are the best turn out to be more expensive than you’d planned for, then it’s down to you to make the decision on how you balance up your likelihood of delivering with an ‘A’ team or the cost of failing to deliver with a lesser skillset/capability. That’s what YOU get paid for.