Many times I’ve watched project management professionals get derailed by being good at what they do. That’s right—great is often the enemy of good, and project managers who seek only excellence can quickly undo their own best efforts because they don’t rejoice in their accomplishments and move forward.
When a project team member (especially one with experience and seniority) is chasing perfection, it’s easy for the entire project to get sidetracked. Spending too much time or too many resources on any one task can end up dragging other aspects of your project down. And let’s face it—if someone is a perfectionist is one area of project management, they probably have similar tendencies across the rest of the project’s lifecycle, too. Chances are good that you’re also a) driving others in your Project Team crazy by obsessing over every detail, and b) passing along your bad habit to junior-level team members who are still learning new skills and expanding their knowledge base.
If you’re a project manager that harbors dreams of total project superiority, is there a way to continue to strive for excellence without being diverted by your own quest for perfection? It turns out that there is. As with many self-defeating habits, admitting that you have a problem may be the first step. Once you’ve made peace with that, it’s time to embrace the fact that you are very, very good at project management. But you’re also going to face end users who will never be happy, stakeholders who always want more, and budgets that just aren’t big enough to accomplish everything that needs to be done.
Bottom line: Will you have strokes of brilliance? Yes. Will you also have projects that seem like one long slog, where your results meet expectations but don’t blow people away? Yes. Get over it.
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