PM: Did I Advance The Ball Today?

The role of Project Manager is directly analogous to the quarterback in (American) football.

More specifically, the quarterback’s role is to lead the team driving the ball forward, ultimately across the goal line. Not unlike what a PM’s job is.

As such, a key question we PM’s need to frequently ask ourselves is: What have I done to advance the ball today?

Being a PM isn’t merely about setting a plan, tracking progress and reporting. It includes getting fully in the game, blood, sweat and tears along with the rest of the team.

As we scour the project plan, review the issues log and risk matrix we will ALWAYS find something needing attention. This could involve:

  • A gentle nudge to a teammate on an important task coming due, offering assistance if required.
  • Scheduling a crucial meeting that one of our team members is depending on someone outside the project team to coordinate.
  • Following up with our executive sponsor on the open question they were seeking an answer to, or a decision they committed to render.

There is ALWAYS something…

Many years ago I led a large-scale CRM implementation. We were down to the wire, at the facility where we were about to train several hundred personnel. IT Desktop Support was feverishly configuring hundreds of laptops which needed to be ready for the following day. Since my planning and coordination work was done I could have EASILY gone back to my hotel room, taken a deep breath and just relaxed in the comfort of knowing that we successfully got the team to this point.

NOT good enough…

That is, we weren’t done and there were team members working VERY hard towards getting ready for the final step prior to launch: training. At this point, I jumped in to assist the IT team. This involved promptly learning and then performing the configuration steps and running readied laptops to the other end of the facility. In doing so, the team was able to finish earlier than anticipated and they were very appreciative that someone from “management” actually stepped in to give them a hand.

You can just imagine the level of support I received from this team going forward 🙂

The key message here is that PM’s aren’t spectators or reporters on the sidelines. We are the quarterback, in the game, leading the charge, frequently asking ourselves: “What have I done to advance the ball today?

In closing, if you are looking to improve PM competencies in yourself, or organization, please reach out so that we can chat about how I can help. And, if you find this content useful feel free to follow this blog to receive an email when new articles are published.

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