The Project Manager as Superhero

The following story is true and happens all the time….

Long, long ago and not so far away, in the kingdom of “Project” and its sister city “International Project”, there lived a man with wisdom and years of experience toiling in the fields of his endeavors. This mild mannered man, (a Project Man-ager) worked daily in Project making sure all was well, citizens were safe and everything was always on time and on budget. The people in Project and International Project were hard task masters.

This Project Man-ager was in constant peril but arose each day and did his work valiantly.  He continuously developed and refined plans, assigned tasks, determined best approaches and protocols, allocated resources and set standards  in Project and so much more.

But there are enemies in Project and International Project. Adversaries more cunning, more devious than you have ever seen.  These adversaries had names but no one dared speak them willingly. The names were only mentioned in the most hushed tones, in the most fear filled whispers and when pushed to the limit, in frustrated screams.

For to speak them aloud, to have them in your thoughts and on your lips was to invite much hardship into Project.  Project Man-ager did not want this. But he knew they were like unwanted guests. They came whether you wanted them to or not and it was very hard to get rid of them.  They caused all kinds of disturbances and used up all your resources, took up precious time and threatened the sanity of everyone in Project.

These enemies were as strong and wily as they were persistent. And as inevitable in the land of Project and its sister city, International Project as night following day.

Scope Creep and The Bug were bored. It had been a while since they had any fun.  I mean what is the fun in life if you can’t mess around in Project, huh? the Bug asked. They hadn’t ruined anything in Project for a while. Not on a grand scale anyway. They wanted to make a big splash, to make sure Project Man-ager knew they were forces to be reckoned with and that he would never defeat them.  They needed a big score in Project, maybe one that crossed into new territories, bigger lands – maybe they should to go to International Project he thought.

Scope Creep agreed with The Bug but really hated to admit it. To be truthful, although they were both on the side of evil in Project and united in their fight against Project Man-ager, Scope Creep didn’t like hanging out  with The Bug all that much.  The Bug was all over the place and messy; broke things and caused a lot of headaches –yes that was all good and that worked in Scope Creep’s favor, but The Bug seemed to get all the attention.

Everyone was always paying him attention, BA, Dev, QA and of course Project Man-ager. They even took the time to create ways to track his every move, had many meetings about him, went back and forth over anything that concerned him. It was unfair, thought Scope Creep.

Scope Creep was dedicated to creating things, extending things, doing more. Expansion was good wasn’t? Why did everyone keeping trying to stop him before he even got started. It’s always, “Stop Scope Creep”, “That’s not in Scope”—it’s almost as if they not only didn’t like him, they didn’t even want to give him a chance. His brother, Signed Scope, had all the security and respect but not him.

It hurt his feelings sometimes but he dealt with it by working even harder in to make his mark in Project and International Project.

Project Man-ager was having a bad day, meetings upon meetings. It was already 3pm in the afternoon and he hadn’t had a chance to get any real work done. Things were not going according to his plan. Scope Creep had raised its ugly head and it had taken too long to beat him back. It had cost him time, precious time and of course money. The fight was draining him too, he could feel it, he was weakening. Scope Creep and the Bug had plagued him for so long. He just didn’t know if he could keep at this much longer.

He quickly called his partner, Project Woman-ager and told her about his day so far. They were in the fight together. She probably had it even tougher he thought, she worked over in International Project.  But that was another tale, for another time.

I only have a minute she said immediately. The Bug is here and he brought a whole bunch of his friends and they are tearing everything apart. I can’t seem to make any head way. The team is so spread out, I can’t even schedule an emergency call with everybody today – I hate all these time zones she groaned and hung up.

Not the first time, Project Man-ager wondered if they would ever win the fight.  They had no choice though, they must prevail. As the Gate Keepers in Project and International Project, they had taken an oath to Queen Spon-soor to carry out their tasks, on time and budget AND protect their charges against all enemies.

Will Project Man-ager’s day get better? What do Scope Creep and The Bug have in store for him and his team?

Tune in tomorrow and find out in Part 2 of The Project Man-ager.

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2 thoughts on “The Project Manager as Superhero”

  1. Project Woe-manager here. At least that’s how I have felt many times when managing tough projects . . . like I am managing “woes”.

    And I’ve often noticed that a super-hero is required for many such projects, but the salary available doesn’t come close to what Superman, or Wonder Woman, are worth.

    Thank you, Yvonne, for helping us take a fresh look at the challenge of being a super project leader.

  2. While I wouldn’t read this “tale” through extended series, it does cover several key aspects of project management and the lack of attention given to scope creep. Nice spin on a topic we all discuss in writing but tend to overlook in projects.

    I’ve found a few good tips on managing scope creep I’d like to share.

    Nice placement of Project Woman-ager 😉

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