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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Do What You Love - Part 2

Last time I highlighted Adam Baker's Ted talk "do what you love."   Today I'm thinking about how I can apply to that thinking to our projects.

 Recall that I summarized Adams talk with these four points:

1.  Commit to start collecting experiences instead of crap.
2.  Sell your crap.
3.  Pay off your dept.
4.  Do what you love.

Let's take this point by point. The first point,  "commit to start collecting experiences instead of crap," seems to half apply. I've seen too many IT projects collect tons of crap. Rooms full of binders, servers full of files, new work areas with all the desks furniture and stuff. Not to mention refrigerators, ping-pong tables, and other assorted toys.

The part about "collecting experiences" however, doesn't fit my project experience. I want to replace this with  "adding value."   this means that, from a project perspective, the first point becomes "commit to adding value instead of collecting crap."

The second point, "sell your crap,"  is directly on point. My recommendation is to get rid of everything that is not specifically related to adding value for your client. This means that the project owns very  little "stuff,"  while the project team members may bring what they wish with the clear understanding that they own the "stuff."   Yes, I prefer to have my project team members own their own computers, phones, and tablets.  No issue with finding a way to help them as needed.  Let me add that, as a project manager, I will ask project team members to remove any of their  "stuff" that's getting in the way of adding value.

Third point, "pay off your debt," doesn't work for me. As project managers we all know to keep an eye on our finances. Adam's point about paying off debt really speaks to a problem that individuals and families face, not  not one that is commonly faced by project managers and teams.

The fourth point, "do what you love," is exactly on point. As a project manager, you should love doing stuff. If you don't love doing this stuff, it's time to find a new calling. In addition to looking project work, find projects that are doing important things that matter to you. That is, find cool projects, projects that you can love.

For your project team members, find people who fit the specific project. That is, find people who will be doing what they love when they work on your project.

So here is a revised list for Projects:

  1. Commit to adding value instead of collecting crap.
  2. Sell your project's crap.
  3. Limit any team member's crap if it adds no value.
  4. Do what you love.
  5. Engage team members who are doing what they love.

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