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The Project Manager as Plate-Spinning Juggler

Chaos is Normal

Just how many things can a project manager handle all at once before things get too crazy? Between managing resources, making sure all is going according to schedule, assessing risks and resolving issues, it’s perfectly normal to experience this kind of chaos if you’re a project manager. In this PM Hut article, Michael Greer mentions how being a project manager is similar to a plate spinner handling spinning plates on poles.

Project Management: The Juggling Act

Managing multiple activities at once, a project manager is subject to feeling “frazzled, distracted and jerked in a thousand different directions.” Just like a plate spinner, a project manager initiates action, monitoring performance and getting things going again if there are any signs of slowing down. Greer says that there are three activities that a project manager depends on.

  • Planning – conceiving of the overall project and arranging for all project events to happen
  • Stimulating Action – getting each individual event started at the scheduled time
  • Intervening – observing when things aren’t going according to plan, then taking action to get things back on track

While getting caught up in the exhaustion, don’t forget that you are creating something amazing, and that the whole process is an amazing spectacle to watch. Greer offers this advice:

“Simply relax into the blur that is your PM existence. Embrace it. After all, it’s completely normal… necessary… even desirable that someone with your judgment and experience play this part.”

Read the full article here:

About Gavin Martin

Information systems architect / technical design authority with over 20 years experience delivering small-scale through enterprise systems to commercial, finance and government customers.

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