Every project manager’s greatest challenge is to manage project deadlines, and I am no different. Managing multiple projects is always a juggling act. Though there are project management frameworks, there is no right or wrong way to project management to perform certain tasks. Every individual has their style of managing projects. However, one thing I always found common among various project managers is, concerns to meet project schedule. When I have contemplated about my ability to manage my project deadlines, one question raised in my mind am I managing project deadlines, or deadlines are managing me?
As a project manager, the first question I ask is, “what is project go-live date?”. In my experience, the first thing, I come up with a project schedule and risks associated with a project schedule. It allows me to understand how should I manage my project. Every project schedule is flexible and has an ability to address all potential risks. However, reality is different because unexpected is always expected. The biggest challenge for me is comprehending unexpected events and accommodating them in a project schedule. How can I understand an event which is above and beyond my imagination and totally unexpected? It is a million dollar question for me. At the beginning of the project, every project schedule looks pragmatic and appropriate. However, at the tail end of the project, things change, and project implementation team start seeing various issues. As a result, it impacts project timeline. I go back and update the customer and modify my project go-live date. It means I reacted to the existing situation and reconsidered my deadline. Then the biggest question is, am I managing a project deadline, or deadline is managing me?
I envision project management is not a science. It is an art. Project management consists of logical reasoning, planning, and measuring. One could argue it is a science. However, for me; it is a journey of proficient and creative mind which considers various situations and formulates colors need to paint those scenarios much earlier in the timeline. It is a holistic picture of what customer requires in the end and delivers a beautiful and exact picture; the one customer wants to see within planned timeline. Does that mean the creative mind is applicable only to professional situations and project management is necessary and limited to working life only? The answer to both questions is “No.” Two weeks back I told my wife, I will be able to cook food within 45 minutes. However, in reality, I took 90 minutes. Isn’t the same thing happen in professional projects. Thus, in my opinion, every situation in a personal life is a project management. When I observed the pattern, I realized it is not only in a professional life but also in a personal life; project management is applicable. As a result of the delay, on that specific day, we had our dinner at 9.30 PM instead of 8.45 PM. We adjusted our timeline based on the amount of time I took to cook food. It means in my personal life as well, I faced the question, “am I managing a project deadline or deadline is managing me?”
In every section of our life, we perform various tasks and let’s consider each of them as a small project. How many times we plan every project we intend to do, comprehend it holistically and complete it on time. How many times we take longer than we initially thought when we started any project. If we believe it pragmatically; it is not feasible every single time however it is possible to plan our projects. Do we plan it and finish a project promptly? How many times we plan for grocery shopping 30-45 minutes and end up taking 2 hours? Or how many times we plan to complete a book in a week, and it takes 30 days to finish it? I am facing similar situations daily, and I ask myself, “Am I managing project deadlines, or deadline is managing me?” what about you, “Are you managing your project deadlines or deadlines are managing you??”
Also published on Medium.