jim@millikenproject.com

jim@millikenproject.com 207-808-8878 Our book "Life is a Project: How are you managing?" is now available!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Shoot for the Moon

Project Management the Right (Hard) Way



     On May 25, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of putting a man on the moon within the decade. How the hell were we going to do that? Neither Kennedy nor anyone else could really answer that question.
     For Kennedy, the how-to was not as important as the why. The Soviet Union was showing us up in the space race – and therefore in the struggle for military supremacy. We all saw it as an issue of national survival, beyond the obvious matter of national pride.
     This unprecedented monster of a project was driven by that very pressing need. We would find a way. Actually, we would find countless new ways to accomplish things never before attempted, or even seriously considered.
     Eight years and 56 days later – on July 20, 1969 – Neil Armstrong stepped from the lunar module onto that dusty lunar surface. Between the two events, there was an immense expenditure of funds and effort, fueled by relentless inventions to do what had never been done before.
     The commitment never wavered, although Kennedy himself was assassinated two years after his announcement.

Monday, September 4, 2017

There ARE No "Soft" Skills


     Have you ever fired someone?
     How did it go? Looking forward to doing it again soon?
     Well, it’s a “soft” skill. Must be easy, right?
      I never found it so. However much the person deserved to be terminated, it was a painful thing to do.
     In some cases, I felt I had a tougher time with it than the dismissee did. That was when the news came unexpectedly to that person (Oh, you thought I didn’t mean all that corrective counseling? All those warnings?).
      The person could rise self-righteously on a gusher of anger and defensiveness, at least temporarily. You can bet that pretty much all his/her associates would tut-tut sympathetically, including those who had been hounding the boss for months to do the deed.

     Not the same situation for the manager. If you were doing your job right, you had been patient and tolerant, but firm. You made sure the requirements were clear. You responded appropriately to variances and transgressions.