I haven’t been a Project Manager in title for, well, ages. As a coach or Scrum Master, I should have shed that hat long ago. And, I did(ish). The problem is it’s still around and, when things need to GET DONE, somehow that hat just turns back up….on my head. Now, the good news is, I realize it and can quickly yank it off and stuff it under my chair but, seriously, I wish it would go away. It won’t ever go completely away though and I’m still learning how to keep it firmly on the shelf.
So, why did it find its way on my head? The group I am coaching wants to GET STARTED! It’s awesome the excitement they all have. They are eager, after months and months of talking, to get to work. And, they want to run it Agile and they are leveraging SAFe. So, before the December productivity vortex hit, we all looked at the calendar and they identified dates for their Quickstart (3 day event for everyone on the release train). This means, there is a LOT to do. And, the month of December is pretty much shot so, there’s about 3.5 weeks to get everything accomplished so the train is ready to leave the station. But, there’s also a Holiday in there AND, most awesome of all, snow storms. WOOT!
The team of people I am lucky enough to work with right now are amazing. A massive can-do attitude. They have overcome illness, broken down cars, two snow storms, children’s illnesses, broken pipes (for 4 people!) and a host of other things way out of their control. They have all come together, rolled their sleeves up, opened their minds and have focused on getting ready. They have trained, collaborated, learned, been challenged, formed as a team and had fun. Honestly, it has been amazing to see and be a part of. There is absolutely NOTHING this group of people can’t accomplish. As a coach, this is heaven. As a PM, I cannot stop thinking about all of the logistics and coordination and organization that needs to happen. It’s not that there aren’t people working on those things. They are. Will it all get done? Probably. If something doesn’t get done, will it matter (really matter)? Probably not.
Coach me: ALL the right ingredients are there. The people and the experience are what matters.
PM me: I need to make certain there are enough post-its, flip charts, sharpies and who is getting red yarn?
Coach me: These people will adjust. What matters is their mentality and how they come together through this first event.
PM me: How can they possibly come together if there aren’t enough sharpies and flip chart markers?! And, who is printing the hand-outs? Wait – do we even HAVE a final head count yet?
Coach me: These guys have it.
PM me: They have everything except the awesome colored, smelly markers. They NEED those.
Coach me: Shut up, PM.
PM me: Will do – as soon as I have every minute of the day plotted out and accounted for….and confirmation on the sharpies.
So, for all of you former PMs out there who are transitioning to Scrum Master, your PM hat is never really gone. You just have to recognize when it’s there, on your head, and take it off. I bet, over the next 8 days, I’ll be taking that sucker off multiple times daily and apologizing to people for continuously asking them if they are certain we will have enough sharpies.