You know the saying…”Ignorance is bliss.” Really? How’s that working for you? You can claim you didn’t know and if you’re right – really telling the truth – and if you’re not in a position of importance or authority then you can possibly get away with it. But usually, if you’re at the top of any ladder…even the project ladder…then that ignorance defense isn’t going to work for you.
Likewise, the “let it rest” stance is an interesting concept. It involves just leaving issues alone and seeing if they will resolve. It was the brain child of my mother-in-law and, although it has worked on a couple of computer issues and one phone dropped in a toilet, I was not able to make it work on an argument that my wife and I were having the other day.
So what are we left with? If we know about it, we must attack it. We’re project managers, for crying out loud. We take the heat, accept the blame, charge ahead and throw caution to the wind. Is that enough clichés in once sentence for you?
No, the budget won’t fix itself. It’s not your PMO director’s job to fix the problem you are having with your resource leveling on one of the projects you’re managing. And that tough change order discussion you need to have with your project customer tomorrow needs to happen tomorrow so you can go back to making nice forward progress on the project. What I’m saying is this…we know what we need to do. Staying on track and making progress on tasks is not just for our team – it’s for us, too. And for us to set aside tough tasks and tough decisions till another time rather than to meet them head on is wrong. And to think that being uninformed or needing more information is grounds for delaying too long work that needs to be done now or decisions that need to be made by tomorrow is wrong, too. Our team and our customers are counting on us to stay on track, to lead by example and to be proactive in the actions and responses we take and incorporate on our projects.
I’m not saying we need to act irrationally or make choices or take actions without the proper amount of information. But I am saying that when we have three or four or five projects on our plate and we’re faced with a tough decision or a difficult task or a major issue on one of those projects, it can be easy to set it aside for awhile and move on to something easier. That’s not the right way to go about it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…attack what’s most important RIGHT NOW, and then move on down the line. If you’re faced with an important, necessary decision right now, then don’t shelve it. If it’s appropriate, you can assign part or all of the task to someone else….you’re allowed to make those delegations. But don’t shirk your duties altogether. Make sure that if you’re not addressing an issue as the project manager, then someone else competent enough to handle it is addressing it and make them accountable for it. Ignorance is not bliss. You can’t just let it rest…not in project management anyway. That reminds me….I need to call my wife….and then call a florist.