Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

When In Rome…

~ By Brad Egeland

View of the Colosseum at night

When in Rome…When most of us hear that, we mentally complete the phrase. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." It means that you basically try to follow the local customs when travelling or even act like your hosts would in their home when you are visiting across town. Fit in. Act 'normal' for where you are.

In The Dark

That's one of those clichés that seems pretty self-explanatory. So much so that we've even taken to excluding the second half of the phrase. Many just say, "When in Rome…" and they fully expect everyone to understand. For the most part that works, but it's interesting how many times I've used phrases like that around my younger teenager and her friends and they had no idea what I was talking about. There's another one about a deceased feline and the act of swinging it around that I won't go into detail on, but they were clueless. Very amused, but completely clueless. No life experience with those phrases…at least not yet.

What am I getting at? I'm trying to make the point that we sometimes use phrases, acronyms, and the latest technical jargon expecting that we are all on the same page only to find out later that we were not all on the same page. Sometimes it just turns out to be a funny thing we all laugh about like when you're watching a situational comedy and you see the misunderstanding and miscommunication happening, but the actors' characters don't till the end of the show. But other times that misunderstanding and miscommunication can lead to serious problems on a project. It can lead to poor decisions, more miscommunication and re-work. And sometimes it's even the communicator using a phrase or terminology incorrectly because they never fully understood the concept themselves. For a PM that can be extremely dangerous.

New Terms Aren’t All That New

I remember when the term 'cloud computing' was first coming into use. It sounds cool, but it’s really just computing on the web. Storing data on a server somewhere other than the machine you are using. Running apps that are web-based, not on your desktop or laptop. While it's great and often cost efficient, there isn't anything mystical about it yet it had many people in the dark because they had not heard the term and thought it was something incredibly different - myself included at first until I simply took three minutes to investigate. But people who are too embarrassed to act like they don't know what something is tend to propagate misinformation. Big data is the next one of those. Heck, I was managing a large government project processing 'big data' 25 years ago. It's nothing really new, just more prevalent now because we've amassed more data and have the computing power to deal with it and more of it today than ever before.

Wrapping It All Up

So, again, where am I going with this? As PMs we need to make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of technology, terminology, jargon, acronyms, and concepts. And we need to make sure we are communicating information and technical terms accurately as well. Take time to ask everyone if they understand. Ask if anyone has questions. And make sure that it is clear to everyone throughout the engagement if they need to say, "What does that mean?" that’s ok. It’s expected. And it’s far better than moving forward with bad or misunderstood information.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Is it true or false that purple is a number?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

A Tale of Two Projects

Two serious businessmen working with a tablet computer

A business tale of what it takes to turn around troubled projects. How did PintCo recover their Customer Master File project when everything was going in the wrong direction.

Project Management Checklists

Checklist

Checklists are underused in the planning and managing of projects. Here is a high level twelve-point checklist for use during project planning.

Top 10 Benefits to Earning a Certification

University students in a classroom watching a presentation

Is it worth putting in all of the work? Consider these benefits of earning a certification, and if you see the benefits for your situation, go for it!

Introduction to Scrum

Rugby scrum in a big push

Scrum is one of the simplest agile methodologies and is proven to be highly effective for software development and more general product development.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Guy Scudamore commented on…
The 8-Step Guide to Creating a Quality Project Schedule
- Sat 23 November 9:31pm

Thomas Uptimer commented on…
How to Do RACI Charting and Analysis: A Practical Guide
- Fri 22 November 6:39pm

Paul commented on…
5 Tips for Successful Projects
- Thu 21 November 12:37pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Looking at getting into project management without a degree https://t.co/ZL47dQ3Cor about 3 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Automatic resource allocation depending on tasks - help! https://t.co/DQHyy8uNcg about 11 days ago

General Project Management • Best PMP Training Online https://t.co/Ey5kCnP1dB about 15 days ago