Looking for project management inspiration? You don’t need to go too far to find it. The greatest project manager is the one who raised you and your siblings, stood rock steady beside your father, made the house a home and did all this while building a successful career. MOM!
In this blog, I try to draw the parallel between motherhood and project management. Here is to all the moms, the greatest project managers in the world.
With undying devotion, oodles of unconditional love and the utmost care, a mother nurtures her child and prepares her/him for the world. She is always there for the child, in the good times and the rough patches, ready to see them through it.
A team is no different. Project managers need to stop looking at team members as resources and go beyond tasks and deadlines if they want to succeed as leaders. People don’t need managers, they need leaders they can look up to and learn from. As a project manager, one needs to take ownership of more than just the project and help their teams with career progression, skill development, and soft skills acquisition.
Juggle with ease
A mother is nothing short of a superwoman. She plays a number of different roles at home with utmost ease even when the going gets tough sometimes. From being a mother to demanding children to being a wife to a remarkable career woman, she just owns it up and relentlessly makes a positive impact.
Prioritization of tasks and responsibilities is an important facet of project management. Project managers need to master planning, task and budget management, team and client management and reporting among many other aspects. In fact, project management roles are in most cases stepping stones to key leadership positions. So it’s very important to understand that growing in an organization means a growing work portfolio and having the ability to effectively prioritize and deliver outcomes.
Stay on top of things
Like the popular saying goes, “A mother knows best!” She knows when a child is disturbed when they are hiding something, when they are in trouble or when they need some disciplining. She is as intuitive as she is observant and nothing escapes her eye. While children don’t take this aspect well, imagine what would happen if mothers stopped intervening at the right time.
For project managers, it is crucial to be wired into the working environment, the stakeholders, the team, the business landscape and all the nuances of everyday life. Staying on top of things is not an activity but a mindset. One has to learn to be observant, pay attention and understand behaviors, processes, and data, and convert them to insights for better decision making. To make an impact in today’s workplace it is important to be focused on outcomes, but more importantly, doing that in a mindful manner.
Have a vision
From the day a child is conceived, the mother starts building a vision for the child. For their well-being, their growth and their success in all aspects of life. This is a mother’s instinct at best; it’s such an organic process and is active all the time.
Project Managers, similarly need to have a vision for the project and for the team. This vision becomes the guiding light for teams to follow and it determines the quantum and quality of contribution. Again this is not just an exercise but a mindset, which stems from the willingness to take complete ownership of the outcomes.
Most adults will tell you that their mothers had an instrumental role in shaping their lives. They will also tell you that their mothers had no problems taking a tough stand when needed. And that balance between freedom and discipline is what shapes character.
The Project Management discipline operates in a zone which is an intersection of people, process, and technology. To succeed project managers need to practice balanced leadership, one that encourages collaboration, innovation, process & quality excellence and technology enablement.
Like motherhood, the project management role is a demanding role that requires flexibility, adaptability, hard work and commitment. My utmost gratitude and respect to my mother and all the mothers out there! I would like to close with this quote from the golden girls:”It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it”!