A Project Manager's Lament (in Verse)
I recently rolled out a project that I’d project managed over a several month period. I like to think I’m a pretty good “natural” project manager, but, every time I really actively manage a project that spans multiple months and involves a true project team, I’m reminded how much effort it takes to do it well!
On my latest flight down to Austin, I wondered if I could express that experience in poetry. Or, to be more precise: in rhyming verse. I don’t know that I’d elevate this to the point of “poetry.”
A Project Manager’s Lament
I chose a path for my career
That seemed a fit for me.
Organization, details, and time
Were the things I could easily see.
For it seemed work breakdown structures
Mirrored my brain and thoughts,
And Gantt Charts were the clearest way
To keep schedules out of knots.
Scope and time and resources
Were my Holy Trinity.
Their proper balance was my goal.
My mission? To make people see!
But, alas, I have discovered
That my skin is not thick enough
To continue my way along this path,
As every project does get rough.
The project manager I now know
Is doomed to make people sad,
For each phase of a project
Brings news that someone thinks “bad.”
At the initial project kickoff,
Optimism always abounds,
But think how many are unhappy
Once the project has made its rounds.
Stakeholders all too often ask
“Why on earth did it take so long?!”
Uninterested in the details
Where the Devil does belong.
At the same time others inquire
Why some of “their” features were cut?
Lip service to the “greatest good”
By deployment time is kaput.
And then there’s the simple fact
That projects tend to run long.
If the PM pads the time up front,
He gets told the timeline is wrong!
We know that the final scope
Of released features is short, it seems.
So many projects under deliver,
Or so is told the underappreciated team.
Which adds yet another burden
For the good PM to bear:
Boost up the project team’s morale
When good news is often quite rare.
By deployment time the entire team
Is under a general malaise.
Yet the PM gets to deliver the news:
“We’re already behind on the next phase!”
My hat goes off to all of you who do project management full-time!