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Introduction

Like many people who feel stressed and “under the gun,“ so to speak when it comes to a major project you have going in in your life, you are looking for the instant cure – the magic beans that will lead you up the beanstalk and to the golden goose. No such thing. Good project management – for any project – takes patience and planning. Something that very few people today seem to realise.

How many projects have you started and then had to give up because of lack of funds, cooperation or simply because of lack of focus? You are far from alone. Every professional project manager runs into these snags. Each day you get into the office and it seems that something is going drastically wrong with the project. It’s almost like facing a nuclear meltdown on a daily basis. The trick of being a successful project manager is fairly simply – you have to manage the project and not let the project manage you.

Are you facing a project crisis right now? Do you have a project that you feel will never get done? One that has a deadline that you feel is going to be impossible to meet?  One that is running out of funds?  One that you feel that you should never have taken on because you don’t have the skills for the project. Do you feel like skipping to Tahiti so that you can get away from the project?

While Tahiti may sound like a nice idea, it is not the answer and you know it. You also know that deadlines can be extended and that you do have the skills that are required to make the project go through. Financing can be tough,  but there are creative ways to get the financing for your project if you look hard enough. You just have to be willing to persevere.

Do you know what makes a good project manager? Persistence. It is the one single quality that every successful person has. You may feel tempted to bail on this project, but what are you going to do on the next one that gets a little hairy?

This course is not just a little pep talk about persistence and the “go-getter attitude.“ You can read “The Little Engine That Could” if you just want that. What this book will tell you is how you can make your project work and be the successful project manager that you know that you are.

Some of us set ourselves up for failure before we even try to get started with a project. This is a shame. It makes you wonder what type of inventions and technology that we missed out on because someone didn’t have the guts to stick to their convictions. If your project that you are managing seems as if it is going all to pieces, it has not failed. It has reached a snag. Try to look it as a  problem-solving opportunity instead of the end of the world. Put your coping cap on and start taking a look at the problems that the project is facing step by step and try to come up with solutions. Because if you think that you are going to be this magical project manager that allows everything to run smoothly and on the even keel, you have either just graduated college or have been watching too much TV. All projects have problems. All projects run into chaotic moments. All projects seem doomed at one point or another. It is how you manage these situations that determine the type of project manager that you are.

Once you learn to break down the steps to a project and put them together, rationally, you will find less chaos in your projects.  Less stress and those projects will start running a lot more smoothly.

The project management meltdown usually begins with some sort of “emergency.” Some deadline will be looming and everyone will start to panic. As a project manager, you will start barking orders to your staff, downing Tums and creating impossible demands for everyone. Your staff, in turn, will follow your lead (after all, you are the project manager) and will also get stressed out. They will start barking at their subordinates. Pretty soon the entire office is stressed out as the catastrophe that has been created (largely in everyone’s heads) begins to spin out of control.

And it isn’t just your colleagues and subordinates that suffer,  either. You suffer. Your family suffers as you start lashing out at them. Your staff starts lashing out at their families. Going to the office is in the morning is akin to facing the guillotine. How many times has your heart raced as you parked your car to head into your office on such a day?

When I tell you that not even people who work in the emergency rooms of hospitals where people’s lives are in their hands do not behave in this way, do you believe me? They don’t.  And there is a  good reason for that, too. Because if they did, they’d save fewer lives. Much fewer.  ER doctors and nurses are sorts of like project managers in a hospital. Sure they have their “code blue” when everyone starts running, but even in those cases, where they are actually in the midst of saving a life, they do not behave like people in an office who are under pressure to finish a project.

The reason for this is that they are trained not to panic. They are trained to remain calm and to do what needs to be done. They have the skills and they know how to use them. You have the same set of skills – you just haven’t developed them yet. So now you’re going to learn the skills.

In this book, I’m going to teach you the skills that you need to be an effective project manager. One who gets the job done without high drama and stress.  Think you can do it?

Of course, you can. Anyone can develop these skills. You just have to be able to exploit your positive traits and quell the negative and you will be able to not only be an effective project manager but create an effective team. The skills that you learn can be passed on to those around you who will take their cues from you – the boss, and learn how to cope with deadlines, missing information, problems on the job, unforeseen circumstances and financial issues.

You may be thinking “I have a deadline due, I don’t have time to learn these skills and read this book.” The truth of the matter is that you really don’t’ have a choice. Either learn the skills now or face similar meltdowns in the future. Learn the skills now or continue to be a stressed out, an ineffective project manager who is always struggling to get out of the bag. Who lets circumstances around you control you, instead of controlling them.

Anyone who is a project manager of any type – whether you are in charge of building multi-million dollar skyscrapers or the PTA, needs this book. Because the skills in this book will allow you to get things done in an orderly and effective manner, causing less stress on your colleagues, vendors, employees and even your family.


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