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Mind Management Tips to succeed as a Project Manager

Muralidhar

- Muralidhar Koteshwar

Managing 'Minds' of the stakeholders is an important skills for a project manager. There are 7 challenge areas, which I have noticed where 'Mind' management is of utmost importance.  This article is about these 7 areas. 

  • Poorly defined goals
  • Unrealistic Deadlines
  • Scope creep
  • Insufficient skills
  • Improper communication
  • Risk management
  • Issues within a team

Defining Goals:

Defining a goal is a mind game that requires a consensus and 'buy in' from all stake holders. This calls for negotiation and listening to all arguments with a clear insight on facts.  A calm mind can help in convincing and make them see the rationale to arrive at achievable pragmatic goals.

Unrealistic Deadlines:

Realistic 'deadlines' are the basis for any project. Poor communication is one of the reasons for deadlines being unrealistic. While the need could be driven from business, the project manager will need to think of creative ways to address this – to add more people, sub contract work, drop features that are unimportant, look at workarounds etc. This needs some 'out of the box' thinking. Here, brain calming works, not brainstorming; stilling the mind to keep thoughts that are noise out of the system helps.

Scope Creep:

Scope creep is a result of “I didn't think of this before, but now realize its critical, can we do it “type of thought process amongst stakeholders. While it is impossible to fix this completely, Mind Mapping at the time of defining scope will reduce this to a large extent. Both free and paid tools are good to accomplish this task.

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Insufficient Skills:

Very rarely is a project manager blessed with a dream team of people with the right skills. Thinking on one's feet and networking with the right people within and outside the organization to up skill the team is critical to meet project goals and objectives. Doubts abound in the mind when new or unknown people are involved. But the nature of the world today is of collaboration and therefore managing the mind to trust and allow some scope for failure is a way to address this.

Improper Communication:

Communication is a core requirement for good project management. Understanding mindsets of all stakeholders while not being set in the mind oneself, always open to learning is a key technique to keep all lines of communication open with a view to succeed in project delivery.

Risk Management:

Every project is beset with risks and not planning for its mitigation or contingency will surely lead to project failure. While tools help bring risks and its probability to the fore, it is discipline in the mind that will ensure mitigation and presence of mind that will nurture contingency planning.

Issues within the Team:

Inter personal issues within a team can be resolved by a leader who is respected by the team mates and looked up to as a person without prejudice, who cares for them and is focused on results. A mind in the present moment that is calm and leads to a happy disposition will give much needed support to the leader in decision making.

So, how do we still the mind and remain calm during crisis?

Still the mind implies stopping thoughts for some time. Attempting to stop thoughts increases the same – what you resist, persists. So to stop thoughts, you need to allow all thoughts to come and be in acceptance with them. Acceptance does not mean agreement. This acceptance allows you to be a good listener as well and helps get you that one thought which can be termed out of the box.

How do you extend this for a longer time and eventually arrive at a calm state of mind. Here breathing techniques and meditation practiced since thousands of years and now being offered in different names like mindfulness in the west is now being widely accepted and followed since the results are there for everyone to see.

It is best done under guidance via apps in the phone or online YouTube sessions for those who are pressed for time or in person with professionals under supervision.

In this ever changing world, with emphasis on quality of deliverables and paucity of time, focus on managing the mind can enhance the ability to achieve as well as improve the quality of one's life.

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