The general elections in India have concluded and the results were announced last month. Prime Minister Modi won a second term by a landslide majority. Most opinion polls got it right this time. What lessons does such a massive win teach the project management community? Projects do not become overnight success stories. There’s a lot of planning that goes into each campaign. From selecting the most winnable candidates to creating manifestos that seem realistic and not just populist. PM Modi was the candidate that most voters voted for. So the lessons for any project manager is to identify your strengths and leverage them. The importance of communication is also brought out to the fore. Strong, accurate, and timely communication can make all the difference in the success of any project.
So what can the opposition learn about managing their projects better next time? There is no gain to be made by trying to sully the reputation of an opponent. Very often, we may have to place a bid to win a project. We win a project not by showing the competition in a bad light. We win by focusing on the customer issue and showing them how we have solved similar problems in the past – using innovation. It’s important for stakeholders to see that the person in charge of the project understands the vision. If the project manager is going to only do what he’s being told, then any stakeholder can see why the project will be soon at risk and could fail. It’s important to apply project management principles and proactively address changes as they happen.
Another lesson to learn is that stakeholders are becoming more knowledgeable. They can’t be taken for a ride easily. It’s their business to make informed decisions. So project managers who deal with factual information and are willing to communicate clearly both the good news and the bad news, as early as possible, (before things go out of control), will be respected and acknowledged. And remember, when things go wrong, don’t forget to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. It takes courage to accept that you are in trouble or that you were wrong. It takes wisdom and humility to understand when it’s time to request for help.
The result of a project is not what you see at the end. The result can easily be predicted as the project moves through each phase. And at the end of the project, make sure you celebrate victories without rubbing it in. There’s nothing to be gained by making your enemies bitter. On the other hand, being graceful in victory or in loss is a skill that if learned well, can ensure you don’t lose what’s more important than a successful project – Relationships.
Thanks and Best Wishes
Tanish Mathur, PMP, PMI-ACP