This is Laura Lee Rose, a business and life coach that specializes in professional development, time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. In my GoTo Academy: Soft Skill Tools for the GoTo Professional continuous online coaching series, I go into office etiquette on various real-world IT topics in detail.
If you are interested in more training in these areas, please sign-up for the continuing online coaching series.
If you know how to drive, you already understand project management. You may still not want to be a project manager, but at least you understand better their function and value. In fact, project management and defensive driving have much in common. Let’s look:
|Project Management Equivalent
|Traffic patterns and traffic rules
|Project ground rules, schedules, resources, budgets, etc
|You cannot safely go faster than the car in front of your
|Critical path analysis and task dependencies
|Everyone in your lane (even though they have a variety of destinations) really needs to be heading in the same direction
|Everyone on your team (even though they may have different motives) need to be heading in the same direction.
|Car’s break lights are RED for a reason
|RED FLAGS on a project mean slow down; stop; and re-evaluate.
|Motorist pull over for emergency vehicles
|Projects have recovery protocol charts and plans
|Motorists merge temporarily into another lane to get around an accident.
|Project resources are temporarily redirected to past a blocking issue.
|Traffic lights and signs are placed to control the traffic patterns and keep everyone in-synch and on time.
|Status reports and quality metrics are placed to keep everyone in-synch with the delivery schedule.
|Motorists risk lives when they speed and ignore traffic rules.
|Employees risk the project schedule and create hostility in the team when they ignore the project rules.
|Accidents and traffic tickets delay time to destination
|Defects and morale issues delay project delivery schedules
|Optimal routes change depending upon road conditions, weather, traffic patterns, time of day traffic loads, and construction schedules.
|Projects often deviate from the original route because of various contributing factors such as: resource allocations, equipment failure, outsource/contract disputes, defects in components, scheduled maintenance and security upgrades, etc.
|General motorist courtesy: slower traffic stays right, left lane reserved for passing only, leave enough space when you change lanes (no cutting off people), allow people to merge into your lane, etc.
|Project meetings have certain courtesy ground rules: No interruptions, allow everyone to speak their opinions, no arguing, allow the option to change direction (as long as the destination stays the same).
|Yield the right of way
|Abide by the priority of the team goals (not just your own agenda).
|Pedestrians have the right of way
|Keep the client perspective in mind at all times. Project Managers need to also be a client advocate
|Motorists encounter detours because of unexpected road constructions – but their final destination is the same.
|The natural flow of a project will have some detours – but the final destination always stays the same.
|Getting angry at the non-moving traffic doesn’t make the traffic move any faster.
|Getting upset at the lack of visible project progress isn’t helping. Either take constructive action or be confident that things will eventually move along.
|Sometimes there is road rage in the boardroom or office meeting. It’s as dangerous in the office as it is on the streets.
|Texting while driving may cause something to be missed and end up in a fatality.
|Texting and multitasking in a project meeting will cause something to be missed and end in a delay in schedule.
|Bridges ice first
|Project pieces not well grounded or rooted, are risky. That is why you have Risk Analysis and Risk Management as part of the project manager’s toolbox.
|Different cars handle differently on the road.
|All employees and resources are not the same. You need to handle them individually.