The Art of Finish: 3 Steps to Getting Your Project Done Despite Setbacks
Developers can get discontented if they get called away from a task they are in the middle of, or disrupted in a complex project and then try to go back a week later and try to pick up where they left off. They will lose all of the ‘job well-done enthusiasm’, and all of the ‘step by step’ approach to completing that specific task will be gone. It will be very hard to resume with the same accuracy, efficiency and enthusiasm that was there previously.
This issue is also present in all projects we participate every day. To start a new project with a new client is great. To bring a long project to completion despite many ups and downs and bumps and issues is relieving, rewarding, priceless and very fulfilling all at the same time. To have to hand off that project you have owned since its start is very displeasing.
Here is how you can overcome roadblocks and successfully finish what you’ve started.
1. Find the reasons to stay on the current project
If you want to stay on the project that you’ve successfully accomplished to the half (with your team and the client) – you should fight for it. You may not succeed, but you’ll be honest and probably respected for it. How can you express your desire? You may be pulled for something that your senior leadership feels is either a better fit or that they need your experience or leadership to take on. It could be a project for a very significant new or past customer, and they want your skills to lead it. So you may not have a choice, but you can explain you appreciate their trust and state that you’d really like to figure out a way – together with management – to keep your current project as well.
2. Show your ability to handle the tasks
When you’ve expressed your wish to stick to your current project, and if it appears you are going to be obliged to take on the newly assigned project, then you’re going to have to show how you can handle both projects. That is probably only going to work if you are at a slower pace on the project that you want to be in – until the end. If it goes smoothly, then you may get what you wanted, but if your project that management wants offloaded to someone else is going strong and taking considerable PM time, then you’re not likely to get very far. That’s when you should expose the next argument.
3. Suggest other projects to foist off
If you don’t convince the management to leave you off the new project, and you can’t get them to agree to let you have both projects, then you must approach them with the concept of leaving the other project to some other project manager, assuming you’re managing more than just one project currently. This may be reasonable, and it may even sound easy, but getting management to change their mind about strategic plans they’ve already formulated, thought through and were in the process of acting upon is difficult at best. Also, you should talk to the management and tell them your justification of why it makes more sense to offload project ‘y’ than project ‘x’ (the one you want to stay in). Explain the savings, the team, and mainly the customer. If you can get any support from clients stating how much they want you to stay on the project or how satisfied they are with you and your team’s performance, that will only help you in your cause.
The conclusion is if you’re enthusiastic about project management, owning your project and the high-level of customer service that goes along with it, then you probably want to see your projects through to the end. If the project is going well and you want to bring it home, or it’s going poorly and you don’t want to be that project manager who abandoned his customer and handed off a stinking mess of issues to another project manager to clean up, you want to keep it. In this case, you’ll need to fight for it – not offensively, but logically. And you’ll need to state your case – you’ll need to reason with your senior management and convince them that your way is the best way.