The role of a project manager among other things is to keep the pace of a project just as a bassist (and drummer) acts as the ‘rhythm section’ of a band. And just as the bassist lays down a grounding and constant rhythm, so does the project manager. The simpler the rhythm repeated the more a live audience (project team, developers and SME's) can hold onto the atmosphere of a song (or the deliverables of the project). This is something that a good 'rhythm section' must always bear in mind. So as you embark on your next project ask yourself if you have the right person leading the 'rhythm section'.
Set the Rhythm
It is is important to set the rhythm right from the start of the project. Leverage a consistent project methodology that your company is familiar with or an outsourced company that can set a standard for you. Establish the project team, tools, goals and objectives. Define requirements, eco-systems and project plan. Then set about building to the requirements and constantly check that BRD throughout. Validation of your design and development via system integration testing and UAT will be the proof that you kept the rhythm and if all has gone well you will set for a smooth go-live.
The key to the rhythm is to establish constancy and repetition so that people know what to expect and can follow you.
Keep it Tight & In-Sync
For a good 'rhythm section' to be considered 'tight' is to consider them being professional.
As the project manager your need to be the leader and you need to lead with professionalism. Set the standard and the tone. Don't allow finger pointing or blame to derail your project. Instead, lead the team through challenging periods and pull them together to resolve issues rather than forming alliances in smaller groups.
You must know when a developer, analyst, subject matter expert or even the executive sponsor is not in-sync. And you must be prepared to take necessary steps to align the team. Identify the outlier not raising their hand when you know they have something to say. They may just be the one with the right answer.
Hit Every Beat
Great musicians hit every beat on the exact beat consistently. They practice to limit any room for error in order to be the best at what they do. Our job as project managers is no different. We develop project methodologies and tools that we use over and over and tweak in order to maintain best practices. Hitting every beat means hitting the milestones on time and on budget, delivering on the goals and objectives and avoiding or managing identified risks. Practicing and repeating the process means hitting the beat every time becomes easier with each new project you lead.
In music the little things really do make all the difference. Projects, from system selection, to implementation and even complex IoT programs are the same. If you miss a beat and lose the rhythm the project and therefore goals and objects are at risk.
Is your bassist providing a constant rhythm?