Thursday, July 27, 2006

relief: project management

Readers of ack/nak may not yet have come to the sad realization that its humble author is not possessed of utter and total mastery of all things product management-y and marketing-ish. Oh despair, you wail, as your last illusion of perfection in an imperfect world is shattered.

Might I suggest we both move on. It's not like I'm not perfect at everything. There are just some areas in which I choose to rely on the skills of highly-trained individuals so as to afford me more time and energy to focus on the truly important issues of the day.

So it is with great happiness that I find myself able to avail myself of the services of a highly capable project manager whose entire mission is to make sure that. . .wait for it. . .projects are managed. Not sprawling, cross-departmental projects, mind you, but my projects. Specifically, launches. More specifically, all the varied and maddening minutiae associated with launches.

For you see, I really do know how to launch products. It's launching four of them in the span of two weeks that gives me shingles. On top of all my other so-called "adventures", mind you.

With this skilled professional working the project plan spreadsheet, pinging me on "what's next" and "what's coming up after that" and "what's at risk of being late", I can focus on coordination, content and, most of all, clarity.

It's been only a few weeks, but already I'm sleeping better. I'm able to see things I couldn't see before when I was eyeballs-deep in the mechanics. I'm seeing where we're getting bottlenecked with shared resources, for example. I'm seeing where steps were getting skipped. I'm sensitive to assumptions that turn into cut corners or - worse yet - missed corners. I'm realizing the limits of my own ability to sustain a detailed, concentrated state without the benefit of an external memory stack I can peek and poke to. I'm working better, more fluidly, more confidently.

But most of all, I'm realizing that I wasn't as effective as I could have been without the benefit of solid project planning disciplines to bring order to multi-product chaos.

I realize I won't always have help like I'm getting right now - which is why I am totally going to school on what makes this person. . .so. . .good. It's fun, in an odd sort of way. Kind of like the issues of the day.

Visual reference - "Is it soup yet?" (source)
Soundtrack - "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" by Mike Doughty (source)

No comments: