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Avoid Project Panic in 4 Easy Steps

You may be an ace project manager, but sooner or later, you’re going to get in over your head. When that time comes (not if, but when) there are thankfully four easy steps to help navigate the panic while coming out ahead. Kenneth Darter, in an article for ProjectSmart UK, lays out the plan of attack.

Not the End of the World

In most situations of panic, the first step is to remain calm. Repeating the words, “This is not the end of the world,” is what Darter recommends. You’ve got to break the problem down into more manageable pieces. Part of feeling overwhelmed is due to the incomprehensibility of the task at hand. Once you’ve shaken out the heebie-jeebies, seek to understand the situation fully.

Relate the Problem Challenge

The next step involves reaching out. And, though you might desperately need help, don’t fall into the trap of sounding desperate. Fake it ‘till you make it. Relay the challenge (not problem) to a peer or colleague with clarity and confidence. You’ll be amazed at how calming it is to hear the problem being conveyed in your own rational voice.

Only the Essential

The “meat and potatoes” of avoiding panic involves restructuring / reworking the challenge in such a way that it becomes more manageable, more conducive to positive change. Of course, in some cases this cannot be accomplished in one day or even one week. Rewriting a project schedule is one example. Yet, as Darter counsels, focus only on what is absolutely necessary first. Everything else can wait.

From Struggle to Reward

At last, you will come to a juncture where the challenge is overcome. Just maybe, if you’ve managed it appropriately, you’ll come out on top with some new skills, a better product / service, or maybe just a fresh perspective. In any case, it’s often the most difficult obstacles that eventually yield the greatest rewards.

Read the original article at: http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/getting-in-over-your-head.php

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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