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Bring Energy to Your Project
By Pawel Brodzinski

It’s a typical situation when after weeks or months of working on a project energy is systematically drained from the project team. The initial enthusiasm is long gone. The most creative design stage is already a history. Everyday’s work is now about tracking down unrepeatable bugs or trying to arrange reconfiguration of customer’s systems to give you at least a chance to run the whole thing before deadlines. This is the moment when usually slips appear and somehow almost no one is surprised. Standard risk management techniques are used, project is moving slowly towards success (or failure).

And then something happens. A project manager gets seriously ill. A lead developer starts a planned-since-the-last-year holiday. Almost all forces are thrown into a new, super-important contract which has just been signed. This issue forces you to rearrange the project team, finding replacements for some positions. And to everyone’s surprise things start moving faster. The project is breathing life again.

I’ve seen this so many times. The CEO who approached the final stage of the project and helped to negotiate the terms of the final acceptance with the customer. The CTO who had to take over the sales process and led it to the end on the double speed. A Project manager who replaced a colleague for ten days and moved through a couple of milestones which couldn’t have been achieved for weeks. A senior program manager who pushed an R&D project from failure to success when he replaced the R&D leader for a couple of days. The list goes on.

Why is it so? Why is it when there’s a new member in the team, who definitely isn’t as familiar with all the details as the rest of the people, can become motivate the group and hasten the project?

Below are the reasons:

  • The new person brings new energy and enthusiasm to the team members who are tired and bored with their work done for the fifth consecutive month by now.
  • The new person becomes fiercely committed to the task to cover initial lack of knowledge about the project details. This inspires the rest of the team. Hey, should that new team member be better than us?
  • Fresh blood is injected into the project. Now someone looks at things from a different perspective and refreshes everyone’s point of view.

It usually has nothing to do about bringing more knowledge to the project team. 9 times out of 10, during final stages of the project, the team doesn’t lack any knowledge, but the teams lacks energy and enthusiasm and the team members are tired and bored. It’s usually always easier and better to bring energy to the project instead of bringing more knowledge.

Pawel’s experience in software development covers a bunch of positions in both rank and file and management roles. He worked in quality assurance, software development, design, support and implementation teams. He also managed different teams from small group of testers up to ERP system development department. While spending most of his career working on enterprise and carrier grade systems, he did play some roles in micro-ISVs. Pawel’s blog can be found at: blog.brodzinski.com.

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