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Project Management: Do You Really Need to be #1?

Nowadays it seems like every company under the sun is trying to be number one. This is, of course, an impossibility, a mindset that will make many great enterprises look like losers. That is what Emanuele Passera argues in a post for Project Management Crumbs. Being number one isn’t necessarily going to make the customer happy. It isn’t even necessarily going to make the business better.

We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!

As Passera relates, the No. 2 rental car company throughout the latter half of the 20th century did not spend all its time trying to be No. 1. In order to gain greater market share over its competitor (Hertz), Avis championed itself as the second-best rental company out there. They used catchy slogans such as, “When you are only No. 2, you try harder,” or “Avis can’t afford to make you wait.” This approach worked spectacularly, changing the humble company’s market from 29% in the early 1960s to 36% in 1966.

Always an Up

Although not being number one won’t necessarily motivate each company or project team to be better, it does send the right message to employees. One can always try harder. If you’re already number one, at a performance plateau, then only two directions are available to you – straight ahead or down.

Reservoir of Trust and Value

As Passera puts it, the goal should be to deliver top notch products or services to customers with which you have built up a reservoir of trust. We just need to stay focused on our stakeholders’ needs and expectations, taking care of our projects, keeping our promises, always being present and consistent. Then, if someone will consider us to the best project managers on earth…well…all the better:

We must go straight to the point and keep simple what is meant to be simple. There is no time to take care of what is just garnishment.   Likewise, the best project manager is the one who takes care of the projects and shows that they care about stakeholder’s needs.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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