Sunday, December 16, 2007

Freakout Mode

In my career as a project manager, I have devised a number of trite phrases that define what I do, or what other people do, and situations that pop up on occasion. Some of the phrases need no explaining:

  • I take the slings and arrows from all comers and still make sure the job gets done.
  • Project management is like herding cats, only harder.
  • Project plans are never "fact"; they start as "fiction" then go straight to "history".
  • You wouldn't need project managers if people would just do what they already committed to doing.
  • The five business days prior to a project being implemented for everyone to use are called "hell week".
  • You can't cram for a project implementation like you can for a final exam.
Then there are the funniest ones. Not that they are really funny, but I look back at the situations where I've used them and laugh.
  • Freakout mode - that is the period after people realize that they have responsibility for a project - much later than when the responsibility actually started - and try like crazy to make up for lost time. Depending on the person and the importance of the activity, some people may go into freakout mode before hell week. But most don't. Freakout mode is always preceded by the last item...
  • The "OH, SHOOT!" factor. Yes, I cleaned it up for public consumption. No matter what amount of planning, conversing, and reminding you do with some people, you cannot help them avoid this moment. Bribing, encouraging and cajoling do not help. So, you do all you can to avoid it, but you can't.
It's funny - okay, not really - when an entire department collectively hits the "OH, SHOOT!" factor. I get it a lot.

Fun times.

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