I love going to see a movie and I take every chance I can to go to my local cinema. It doesn’t matter if it is action, comedy, romance or horror; I enjoy them all. This is a great way of getting a break from work but I recently realized that it can also give me a new way of looking at the project management role.
Not Everything Is As It Seems
Films are all about building up a world of make believe. This means that modern day New Zealand or Ireland can act as the setting for a medieval fantasy world and the guy you watched getting killed in the Second World War last week can now be a cop or a doctor or a pilot this week. We all need to suspend our belief at some point when we enter a cinema but we do need to do the same sometimes at work? I think that at the start of a project we need to remember that not everything is always as it seems. This means that we need to challenge assumptions and ask awkward questions rather than taking anything on faith alone.
We All Like a Happy Ending
I still haven’t recovered from the ending of the western Shane if truth be told. Sometimes I complain about films with sugary sweet endings but at the end of the day a sad ending can leave a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth. The same applies to projects as well. You could run a fantastic piece of work all the way through but if it ends badly that is what people will remember. This is why it is essential that you keep up your levels of concentration until the very end of the project. If you do this then you will give it every chance of having a happy ending for everyone concerned.
There Are Only So Many Possible Plots
I once read that there are only a very limited set number of different movie plots and that every single film you have ever seen comes from one of these ideas. When you think about it this certainly seems to be true, and there are a small number of categories into which we can fit most movies. When you are working on projects you will also find that the same situations and issues keep on cropping up over and over again. Once you know what to expect it is a lot easier to deal with it, so don’t forget that what you had to deal with in the past is also likely to be what you need to handle in the future.
The False Ending Never Fails to Surprise
Don’t you just hate it when the bad guy looks as though he’s dead but he isn’t really? You should know better by now, shouldn’t you? After all, this is the standard trick that they use in just about every action or horror movie. Yet you fall for it every time and think that the hard work is over when you see the baddie hit the deck. The same can happen to you, believe it or not, on your projects. Just when you think that you have done all the hard work you can end up with egg on your face when you realize that something has been forgotten about or not done properly. The project is only complete when you have done your testing, had it signed off and handed it over. If you think that it is over before then there is the risk of you coming across a false ending.
It Is Better With Friends
You probably enjoy going to the cinema with friends, just as I do. This means that you get to enjoy the build up with them, buy your popcorn and hot dogs together and then talk about the action afterwards. You can approach your projects in the same sort of way, although taking hot dogs into the project meetings is often frowned upon by the stakeholders. However, you can still have a good time as you work. If you treat your team members and stakeholders as friends then you can enjoy the work and have the occasional laugh with them. Clearly you will want to be professional at all times but no one should take any offense if you show that you are enjoying the role and making friends along the way. You certainly don’t want to see others as your rivals or enemies.