Get Your Hands Dirty

Most project leaders realize it’s their job to focus on the overall strategy and progress. Few project leaders, and few humans for that matter, are inspired by tedious tasks. Yet from every strategic cloud, some tactical rain must fall.

In every project, there’s a point where the work turns from “cool innovative thinking” to “boring #$%! data collection” or something similarly distasteful. This is precisely the point where things fall apart. Team members get bored and frustrated. It’s hard work finding data, gathering requirements, and establishing functional specifications. It’s also the backbone of everything that will follow, whether it’s a solution, a design, a system, a product, or anything else you’re trying to build.

It’s a predictable trough in the festivities, and one you can successfully coach a team through. As a project leader, it is critical for you to inspire your team during this cycle. One of the best ways to do this is by getting your own hands dirty. Dig right in there and help with the data collection and analysis. Assist with tracking down the right data sources. Facilitate requirements sessions. Clear as many obstacles as you can for the team. Because when the team comes out on the other side bearing facts and data, then the good stuff starts. You can actually build something! And by hanging tough with your team, you develop immense credibility and loyalty, which you’ll need when the poop hits the fan during deployment…

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