Consistently Wrong – how much does Consistency matter in Project Management?

In many respects, project management fundamentals emanate from some form of structure or process or plan. These formats may vary wildly from project to project and process to process, but at their core, they represent something for the team to hold on to and something to guide the team through the many uncertainties that the project and their own individual work lives will throw at them. There are innumerable variables within every project and a large portion of the core mission of the project manager is to introduce some manner of constancy into the equation.

The ubiquitous tool for introduction of such steadiness to the project team is the Project Management Plan. The all-encompassing guide of guides, sufficiently vague to provide all and no guidance at once. As much as I clearly disdain the effort required to assemble and gain endorsement on the PMP, it is hardly deniable that it has the potential to lay the foundation for consistency with your team.

So you have followed your steps appropriately, put forth the necessary forethought, developed an appropriately vague yet project specific PMP and gained your team’s endorsement. Just one more time for those in the cheap seats; it’s not worth the paper it’s written on if the Project Manager does not execute this plan with CONSISTENCY!

This is a much broader concept than it may appear at first glance. Hidden within my description of an “appropriately vague” PMP are dozens of ‘…at the sole discretion of the Project Manager…’ sorts of situations. It is my opinion then that it is the responsibility of the PM to attempt to engender trust through the consistency of their own actions. For me this starts with a few fundamentals:

–          Be Prepared: Help set an expectation for professional excellence through your own actions. If you expect this of others, you must demand it from yourself at all times. Of all the variables, this is one of few truly within your control.

–          Check your Attitude at the Door: Not that this is my strong-suit either, but what happens outside of those team interactions should stay there. Everyone has their ups and downs, but do your best to present a consistent demeanor to your team. They will learn how to act based on your responses. This is more important than you realize!

–          Fair is Fair: Strive to know yourself and your personal core values as a PM. Whether the rules are in writing or implied, don’t let the circumstances influence your decisions as much as the facts. You will gain more respect for being fair than nice or prepared in my opinion.

–          Acknowledge Fallibility: You are going to make mistakes. So are your team members. If you stick to the points above, admitting your mistakes and accepting your team members’ will be a reasonable fact of life that we all can respect.

Is it better to be consistently wrong than unpredictably wrong? Please share your thoughts!

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