Please allow me to further develop this concept for you with a real world example. Preparing to host a booth at a major trade show is like planning a platinum wedding where the company stakeholders are playing the role of bridezilla. Bridezilla wants a champagne and caviar experience but wants to pay beer and hot dog prices. Almost every developmental meeting prior to the “Big Show” there is a discussion about ROI and budget. Pulling off the “Big Show” takes a small army of worker bees, all buzzing around in controlled chaos handling the multitude of details necessary to maximize a large trade show presence.
My first opportunity to play the role of trade show manager was after someone else had been planning for the trade show for six months. This person left the company and created a vacancy that had an urgency to be filled just three months prior to the show. I was young and inexperienced but had great organizational skills, so the role was given to me. The group had a cohesion problem and quickly became a lesson in persistence, recovery and negotiating the minefield of personalities and agendas. For three months, I felt trapped in quick sand and this experience left an indelible mark on my career. We made it to the show and had some moderate success but not before I earned my first corporate nickname…the barracuda.
The following year, I was asked to spearhead the trade show project again. After the previous years experience, I was reluctant. I do like challenges and the desire to do better won me over. I recruited my starting line up of worker bees and made the decision that no matter if some one leaves or transfers, we are keeping this group as one cohesive unit without any walk-ons. No more wasting of time and resources playing catch-up or having clarity of roles and responsibility problems. What a difference that decision made on our understanding of planning a platinum trade show even with stakeholders questioning each decision. Not only was our ROI increased, I went from the barracuda to the trade show queen.
When considering project management, have a strong recruiting campaign for the right talent for your team and stick with that talent. Do not encourage walk-ons as they will only weight down your progress. Once the ball gets rolling and you loose a member of the team, reorganization of the division of labor is the smarter move over trying to bring someone new to the project up to speed. Elevators are designed to go up and down, but when organizing a large project, even if you have to stop at each floor, you still want to always be going up.
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