OK, so it doesn’t actually start with an ‘X’, but there aren’t many words that do, so this is pretty much the best you’re going to get.
This one can’t be stressed enough. If you are managing a project, delivering software, whatever, it means you have customers, or stakeholders, or perhaps both. These are the people that will build or break your reputation in equal measures and with astonishing speed. So, best have them on your side eh?
Build a rapport with them ensure they are aware that you have their interests at heart, because you do of course!
When things are going well, be sure to make sure they are aware of how good a job you are doing, but in a subtle way of course. Equally when things are going wrong, it’s a good idea to be open an honest with them up-front and early. That way the kicking you are likely to receive as a result of it will be minimised, perhaps to none at all.
Of course, if you are a good guy, you will have thought through all the permutations and options and presented the best solution for the benefit of the project. So, beforehand, work out what’s wrong and how you’re going to put it right then present your plan for saving the world to your customer(s). Do it well and you will maybe even come out smelling of roses.