sense of urgency

I am sitting at the table with my new project team. The project was in mid-flight when I took over as the project manager. As the new guy, I know it will take some time before I can build up trust among the team. Careful not to start out on the wrong foot, I’m doing more listening than talking.

The team is discussing a major issue that is causing a risk to the project. On top of the issue are fast approaching deadlines to complete development and testing. As the discussion begins to end, the team decides the best action is to schedule a meeting the next week.

I couldn’t stay silent any longer.  I had a meeting scheduled the next morning, inviting all the key players. I set the meeting was with high importance, and I created visibility with the leadership team.

What I was doing was creating a sense of urgency. As project managers, it is our responsibility to create a sense of urgency. We have to do this all throughout our projects. In a traditional waterfall SDLC, this is especially true in the delivery phase.  Even with the best planning and preparations, QA and UAT will always be a challenge. If the team is lackadaisical going into testing, you are in for big trouble.

Now, this doesn’t mean we (as PMs) should always be sounding the fire alarm every time a problem arises. We have to treat the team well and give them space to do their best work. We don’t want to micromanage or cause unnecessary stress. This is somewhat of an art form.

Here’s the key. Over half of IT projects fail. As project managers, we need to provide the leadership required for project success. This means, creating a sense of urgency all throughout the project.

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