We wear so many hats as project managers over the course of our projects and our careers. I don’t want to make PMs sound like superheroes because we aren’t. But we often have to be a ‘jack of all trades.’ And if you lack the ability or confidence to do that…to take on multiple roles (often several at the same time)…then perhaps the PM world isn’t for you. We must be resource managers, task masters, financial planners, conflict resolver, workflow managers, documentation specialists, business analysts to some degree, tech gurus on some projects (or at least talk the talk), wise and on-the-spot decision-makers and sometimes we have to be master negotiators. It is this last one that I’d like to discuss in this article.
Much has been said about when your projects conflict. How do you handle it when your project conflicts with other projects in your organization and your resources are being pulled in different directions? All you can do is go one of two ways…. either negotiate to get another resource assigned to your project (if you can’t keep the one you have) or work with the other project manager or the project resource’s manager to free up his time for your project.
As project managers, often we are juggling multiple projects at one time. You know that overwhelmed somewhat sinking, scary feeling, right? It can be fun and it certainly makes the days go fast, but it can also be a little too much chaos when two of your projects collide and are in the middle of labor-intensive phases at the same time or going through issues in parallel.
Since you can’t be cloned…yet…how do you handle this type of situation without losing your sanity and complete control of one or both projects in question? Do you prioritize one project over the other? What if that isn’t possible – especially without potentially upsetting one of your important project customers? For me, I look at three options. Usually one will work – the third one on the list being the least desirable because of its potential effect on the customer and their confidence level. Let’s consider these three and feel free to comment and discuss at the end.