Could You Manage a Project You Don't Believe In?

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begeland
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I wrote an article on this topic and would love to see feedback or a discussion on this as it's seems to be a topic people are opinionated about. Here's the article link:

http://blog.workamajig.com/blog/could-y ... believe-in

Let's hear your thoughts here on the forum....do you manage projects you don't believe in? I realize there are times we may not have a choice. Then what do you do...how do you motivate yourself? And if you don't believe in it and you do have a choice - how do you turn the customer down? What do you say?

Thanks in advance...looking forward to responses here...
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dhaughey
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I think that it is hard to manage a project that you don't believe in, but in this day and age, you can't afford to be choosy. More important is the consideration of whether the customer believes in the project. Are they committed to making it a success? It may sound strange, but sometimes the stakeholders have had the project imposed upon them by the senior management in their organisation.

The best project I've worked on was a brilliant success because everyone involved believed in it completely. It was a textbook project. The Records Management system the project delivered is still in use today, providing the company with a significant return on their investment. Everyone involved in the project is proud of what we achieved, and this feeling stems from a good vision and true belief in what we designed to deliver at the outset.

You don't have to believe in project to manage it, but you will be missing a significant part of what makes projects successful. In these cases, there is always a risk that the project will wither and die when a new project arrives that people do believe in. I've run projects like this, and it's disappointing when the results of all your labours seem wasted. I call it good technical delivery, but no business benefits. Thus, belief and benefits are closely linked, as belief in a project comes from an understanding of the benefits it's going to deliver.

In my Records Management project, the stakeholders saw a vision of a better department, with better tools and systems, able to provide better customer service. They were already service focussed as a department. This improvement in service appealed to their core values. It is what drove their belief in the project and why everyone went the extra mile to make it a success.

Belief in a project and benefits go hand in hand. I don’t think that you can have one without the other.

Duncan
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kwalford
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Hi Brad,

Good post!

I think that to lead a project, you have to believe in it. To manage a project, you may not require such passion.

My opinion is that as a PM you need to get behind the project, despite your true feelings. If you show apathy, then it filters down to the rest of the team and you get poor results.

The hardest things is managing a project which the customer (sponsor) does not believe in. How do you manage such projects and disinterested customers (any tips)? Lack of stakeholder support is a regular project failure reason, as said by the Standish report.

Thanks,
Kit
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dhaughey
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The secret of a successful project is belief and passion. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.

Seriously, if the customer is disinterested and lacks belief in their project, then I'd steer well clear. It is not worth the effort when knowing that whatever you do, you're likely to walk away dissatisfied.

Duncan
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