Ode to a Project Manager
You rush from the meeting with a new project assigned,
Less than an hour in charge, yet your three days behind.
On your computer you create a new file folder,
Soon to be filled with interviews of each stakeholder.
One executive thinks the project is the most important ever,
Another laments that it is a wasted endeavor.
The marketing team shares key customer desires,
Operations can’t meet because they are putting out fires.
You sort through the feedback the best that you can,
And cobble together the start of a plan.
The schedule is tight and funding is bleak,
A team launch meeting is scheduled for the start of next week.
Monday arrives and your head is spinning and dizzy,
You enter the room with stomach butterflies busy.
Team members assembled and food for the feeding,
All are eager to learn about the project your leading.
The welcome is a bit bumpy at first,
Then you settle in just as you rehearsed.
Everyone learns of your planning to date,
You give a chance to challenge and debate.
Discussion is lively and questions abound,
The meeting ends and you’re glad that you survived the first round.
In the coming months will be lots of deadlines and meetings,
At times success will be in hand and then suddenly feel fleeting.
Just stay on task and have a bias toward action,
Help your team members steer clear of each and every distraction.
Accountability and communication are both key friends,
To ensure your efforts turns out well in the end.
Finally the day comes for the effort to go live,
From the outset you wondered if you’d even survive.
But the team made it, they’ve grown close together,
In large and small ways they’re all changed forever.
A few days will pass and another project will begin,
Take time to enjoy the celebration, now go get ‘em PM.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.