Jerry Nixon @Work: People in Projects

Jerry Nixon on Windows

Thursday, April 27, 2006

People in Projects

It is the nature of most people to like the beginning of a project.

The beginning of a project is exciting. It is all about brainstorming, envisioning and making grandiose plans. It is about big budgets, long timelines, fresh starts, and power.

It is the nature of some people to struggle during the middle of a project.

The middle of a project can be exciting, but is typically insalubrious and insipid. As personalities clash and resources are strained, the project is only fit for those with a “stick-to-it” mentality. Some members might fall off and some customers check out.

It is the nature of most people to dislike the end of a project.

The end of a project is stressful. It is the climax of accountability and often a large gamble as to if the technology will work, the infrastructure will support it, the politics will allow it or most of all if the users will accept it.

It is in this last phase of project lifecycle that many will find escape. Some will shore up their reputations behind the responsibilities of someone else – if something fails they can have someone to blame. Some will extract themselves using clever maneuvers so their accountability is removed, sometimes by removing themselves. Others will plow ahead.

The whole of a project’s lifecycle is not a good place for everyone and all personality types. For example, visionaries belong in the beginning, but rarely succeed in the end when things are in the final “completed” phase.

Some clients make a mistake by “rewarding” early project visionaries with long-lasting project positions that do not suit their personalities. Worse, most visionaries accept these positions counter to their skills, their talents, their performance, and their preference – typically to the detriment of the project. Both are at fault.