How can you manage a project that feels like it is in fog? It’s difficult to keep track of everything when you don’t really know what you know.
Focus on what you can control. You focus on the small things that you can do to change the current issues. You just follow your heart.
Carole Osterweil Carole Osterweil is a magician at making people feel as though they are in control of the fog and can navigate any road, no matter how blocked it may seem. I spoke with her to learn more about managing difficult situations.
Click the video below to view it. If you prefer to read the transcript, it is available below the video.
Elizabeth: Hello everyone. This is Elizabeth, from Girl’s Gide to Project Management. I’m delighted that Carole Osterweil, whose book Project Delivery, Uncertainty, and Neuroscience: A Leader’s Handbook to Walking in Fog, is with me today. Because a lot of our community’s discussions revolve around how to get things done in the real-world, which can be messy, I thought Carol would be a great person to speak to us about how to navigate those complexities and how to work in uncertain environments. Carole, welcome to the video.
Carole: It’s a great pleasure. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Elizabeth: Thank you. We’ve already spoken before, didn’t we? We can cover some of the points we have discussed before, but it’s probably worth starting with the basics because your book is for people who lead projects. What do you think is the difference between project management and project leadership?
Carole: Sometimes I don’t like the distinction. I think most project managers want the role of leading, and many of them are. However, if we want to get technical, there was a recent report by the APM that looked into this. Their statements are true. Their view was that traditional project management was very process-oriented. We all know that people are equally important. Projects in modern times are more complex, volatile, and potentially more ambiguous than ever before. You must be able to deal with all this as a project leader. They went a little further. According to the report, they wanted to be a project leader. It’s about being fugitive and future-focused. It’s about the second direction. It’s about how you work with your stakeholders and team members and keeping an eye on the bigger picture. You can’t just bury your head in the sand and think that I’m only here for this project. It is important to be aware of the context in which one works. I believe they also had another type of two very important pieces to their report. This really resonates with me. It’s important to feel as comfortable within the project as possible, with your plans, your risks, and all that project managers do and do well. It’s about being able to look outside of the project and see patterns. You are moving along with stakeholders.
Carole: Carole, what can I do to influence all this? I can’t just react to and report on historical events. I need to be far more proactive. Does that make sense?
Elizabeth: Yes, I do. And I liked that distinction. I like the distinction.