~ By Kenneth Darter
Winter is not always the most enjoyable season. Cold, rain, snow, ice, bare trees, and shorter days can make you feel as though spring will never arrive. Every year, though, spring shows up. The trees bloom. People head back outside to soak up the sun.
At times, life on projects sometimes feels like winter. The never-ending meetings. The schedule overruns. The unexpected problems. In the midst of all that, you might feel like the project end date will never come.
Sooner or later, though, it arrives – regardless of whether you're ready for it!
You have no choice but to work through all the tasks, issues and problems with the project. But don't let them keep you snowed in. Keep an eye out for spring. Be ready for the warm weather when it arrives.
When spring is knocking, it's time to buy a new wardrobe. The heavy coats and the mittens and the caps can be packed away for next year. It's time for shorts, t-shirts and hats that shade you from the sun. Spring is the time for new life. A new wardrobe helps everyone realise that it's time to throw off the trappings of winter. It's time to spread your wings again in the sun.
When it comes to a project, perhaps you need to move into a season with less stressful meetings. Maybe you need more tasks that lead directly to the finish line. Everything in the office begins to change when the project gets close to the end. Everything. You can begin to see the fruits of the team's labours.
Now that you have a new wardrobe, it's time to venture outside. The cold days are gone. The rain is moving out. It's time to be outside enjoying the sun and flowers while they bloom.
On a project, as you near the end of a phase or the end of the entire project, you can start to reclaim your lunch hour and your social networking. Get out and enjoy the fact that your life is no longer consumed with updating schedules. That revising deliverables isn't keeping you awake at night.
Enjoy the natural break brought on by the end of the project or the project phase. Of course, if the project is running late or in trouble, you may need to double down on the work before you can truly enjoy the springtime. Consider that time a long winter. But keep in mind that the spring will come sooner or later no matter what else happens.
Most of all, when spring is approaching (metaphorically or otherwise), it's time to celebrate. Break out some good food. Fire up the grill outside. Invite neighbours and friends. Open up the pool or the backyard. Spring is a reminder that life thrives -- no matter how long or cold the winter is.
On a project, when you're getting near the end or reaching a big milestone, it's time to hold a celebration. This might just be a simple get together over donuts in the office. Whatever it is, there should be some kind of break from the daily grind to acknowledge the achievements and breakthroughs the project team has accomplished.
After all, what good is the warm weather if you don't take the time to enjoy it? The same is true for the satisfaction of wrapping up a project. Will you be ready?