So a slight confession, I am a major “tv-holic” and I love watching stuff that is both entertaining but also has some value. There were two shows that have really captured my attention and specially in regards of project management. In the quest to manage projects successfully, there are key things one has to note. There are the lessons that will help you succeed and the ever dreadful pitfalls. Outlined below are salient lessons, and possible pitfalls on successful project management that are drawn from the show "7 days out" and "Fyre." Let's start with the notable lessons:
Proper Planning and Preparation: No project is successful without a concrete plan. A plan is the first step to achieving your set project goal. A plan shows you the mapped out direction and course of action for intended projects. A plan should include everything necessary to make a project work, people, venue, equipment, target, money, and dates. In the first episode of the "7 Days Out" show, the organizers of the Westminster dog show, mention the numbers of participating states, the size, and nature of the venue and the amount of work that had gone into making the venue suitable for the event. Planning involves a lot of research, and frankly, you have to start early.
Put The Right People In Charge: Your project is as good as the people who handle the different aspects that make it a whole. Face it; there is just so much only you can handle; you need people. For a successful project, you sometimes have to trust the ability of other people and put them in charge of areas where they are skilled and can function optimally. The owners of the high end restaurant Elevan Madison Park did just that and you could see that even though they were meticulous they trusted their project manager and closest staff.
Teamwork: Asides putting people in a position where they can work optimally, no project succeeds without the collective input and hard work of all members. It is important to note that at the beginning of a project, all parties know the exact vision of the projects and are willing to work according to that vision and even help other members of the team when and where necessary. In one Episode of the show, there was a team of scientist working together to create a robot, Casini. At the point of creating the spaceship for Casini, over 5,000 people had to work on various parts of the spaceship. This is a team effort, combined knowledge. The success of a project is a success for every member of the team.
Have Backup Plans: Nothing is certain. Plans fall through, and failures happen, do not forget to make room for them. Times, where things go wrong with your project, should often be met with backup plans. Think ahead, make provisions for the things that may fail so, you are not caught unawares. Preparedness is key.
Now, let's talk about the pitfalls to a successful project:
Setting Unrealistic Goals: It is okay to dream big, however, when carrying out a project, it is of utmost importance to draw the line between delusions and reality. A project might fail because of the unrealistic goals and deadline one has set for them. For instance, in the "Fyre" documentary, the founders had tried to hold a music festival and accommodate 8,000 people on a small island in the Bahamas. This island had no electricity or proper waste disposal system, and the organizers were to start developing houses/tents and waste disposal system on a very short time frame, how ridiculous!? From the get-go, this was a project that was intended to fail.
Accountability Issues: This plays a major role in the successes of projects. As a project manager, you might start to believe you are not accountable to anyone and so, you act nonchalantly and still think the project will be successful, irrespective. The truth is, you have to be accountable even if you are not being watched, to yourself, your team and every other party that matters. Financial accountability is necessary for counting loses calculating gains. This was apparent in the Fyre documentary when the founder was able to deceive a lot of people and no one was able to push past that. Many on the team even stated that they regretted how far it went.
Inadequate Resources: Resources here could be financial, human or otherwise. Do not set about a project where you lack heavily on resources. Do not bank on the resources that are yet to come and launch on to starting a big project. Doing this is already a recipe for disaster. In the Fyre documentary resources were scarce and came into the picture way to late.
This is just a top of the iceberg but still, I recommend anyone that has Netflix to watch “7days out” for good examples of project management and “Fyre” to see everything fail.
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