Why I put a ring on it: The 3C's of Project Management - Clarity

Over the years, I’ve been asked how and why project management became my life’s work.

Like so many career paths, it was not intentional. I learned to fall in love with the work I do.

Falling in love doesn’t happen immediately.

It is something that occurs over time as you learn more about the other person, their idiosyncrasies, their strengths and their weaknesses.

The same is true with your career.

Once you fall in love and decide to make a commitment, it’s time to get engaged.

Similar to the 3C's of an engagement ring, I have identified 3C’s of project management that have guided my career. These 3C's facilitated my commitment to a career in project management.

The first C is Clarity.

The Oxford Dictionary defines clarity as, “the quality of being coherent or intelligible” or “the quality of transparency or purity.” Without these characteristics in a project, it is difficult to achieve success.

Clear in my mission – When directing a project, it is essential that I’m clear in my mission with all parties involved. Project objectives must be clearly defined, and expectations outlined from the beginning of the project. Without a clear mission or vision for the project, it is easy for it to become derailed, resulting in missed deadlines and inconsistent results. Clarity in my mission ensures efficiency in achieving deliverables and meeting goals from the outset.

Clear in my communications – Without clear communications, my message is mud. There’s no easier way to say it. Lack of clear communication is one of the top reasons people fall out of love. To keep the flame going, I have to keep the lines of communication open among all parties involved in the project. I work with my team from the beginning to decide on the best communication methods to push the project forward. The more complex the project I’m working on, the more intentional I am in communicating consistently and often. It is always better to over-communicate rather than the opposite. You want your team to remain clear on your mission and vision as we just discussed. Clear communications in project management drives results.

Clear in my role in the project – I understand that every project is not created equal. The role I play in one project may not equal the role I play in another. Just because I’m the project manager does not make it apples to apples. I recognize the difference in each project’s vision and the scope, and I adjust accordingly to meet the needs of my clients and stakeholders. I am always mindful of my environment so that I can play the role to drive performance in each project.

Clarity is just as important for agile projects. While changes to requirements are expected in the agile environment, there is still a need to be clear on the product vision or purpose to establish clear working agreements with the team.

Tips to achieve clarity

Here are just a few tips I’ve learned in my career that may help you gain clarity on your projects:

  • Communicate your mission, vision and values verbally and in your project plan with your team. People consume information differently. Make sure you cover all bases to make sure everyone understands what you are trying to accomplish from the beginning.

  • Be specific. Define your deliverables and roles with your team in detail. Lack of detail leaves your message open for interpretation which blurs clarity.

  • Define the responsibilities of your team accordingly and communicate it clearly. Everyone on your team should know their role and their impact to achieve the overall goal. Be clear in setting your expectations on each person’s role and responsibilities.

  • Establish performance measurements with your team. Being clear in this expectation drives accountability and performance. Your team can gain clarity in the rewards and consequences of meeting those expectations.

  • In the case of agile projects, be sure the team is clear about the product vision. This can be accomplished by sharing the agile project charter and/or the product roadmap.

Stay tuned for my next article on the 3C's of project management: Confidence.

A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success. --Steve Maraboli

I want to hear from you about your experience in gaining clarity on your projects. What is your biggest challenge in communicating and executing clearly on your projects?

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