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blog | December 18, 2012

Top 5 Best Things About Managing Projects

By Tony Osterhaus

In my last blog post, I discussed the 5 things I liked least about managing projects. Being a topic that didn’t seem to have a lot written about it, I thought that might be a more interesting starting point than the things I like most about managing projects. It definitely generated some discussion from our clients. So, to avoid being called a whiner again, let’s take a look at the 5 things I like best about managing projects.

No. 5: Solving problems

I love problem solving, always have. Crossword puzzles, brain teasers, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles; bring ‘em on. If I can sit down and think through how to get to the desired result, I’ll be content for hours. The beauty of project management is that problems come in all shapes and sizes. On some projects, the client may have a difficult business situation that they need my team and me to solution. On others, the problem may be shuffling resources or schedules to accommodate client needs. In any case, bring ‘em on – I welcome the challenge.

No. 4: Learning about new industries, technologies and services

Our clients cut across many verticals, from banking and finance, to oil and gas; construction to healthcare; retail to restaurants. The lifecycle of a project does not afford the time to become an expert in any of these fields, but in order for us as a company to successfully market to our clients’ target audiences, we need to build a working knowledge of each business. As a primary liaison to our clients, I’m in a great position to summon my inner five-year-old and ask a lot of why’s and how’s.

No. 3: The people

As much as I like learning about new industries, I enjoy meeting new people more. From a purely social aspect, it’s always interesting to me to hear the journey individuals took to get to a certain point in their professional lives. From a selfish point of view, I enjoy understanding how people do their jobs better, because chances are, they have some strategy, process or gadget that I can incorporate into my professional life that will make me a better manager. Most of all though, I enjoy working together to achieve a common goal, which leads nicely into No. 2 on my list: collaboration.

No. 2: Collaboration

In my previous roles, I worked almost exclusively with IT folks. While individuals often had their personal agendas, for the most part, the general thought process around a project was similar. Now, I’m working with developers, art designers, copywriters and marketing managers among others. Each of these groups can have a very different perspective on how to solve a particular business challenge. While the storming phase can be a bit painful at times, being a part of a team comprised of several unique skillsets working towards and ultimately achieving a common goal is very rewarding.

And the No.1 best thing about managing projects: Successful delivery

Success is what we strive for right? Shouldn’t this be our ultimate goal on each project? Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard, but if we get through the ups and downs and we achieve the goal we set out to in the beginning, then we’ve done a great job.

Naturally, my top 5 is subjective. I’d love to hear your input and your top 5 list. And here’s a site where you can go crazy with thousands of top 5 lists.