LOST: One Little Bird and a Sense of Humility
An interesting thing happened today on my project. I'm sitting in my stall... er... I mean, cubicle, typing away on a miscellaneous project deliverable in preparation for my weekly sponsor meeting when all of a sudden something black and winged flew overtop of me. At first, I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me, but the muffled scream of the woman three cubicles down from me told me that something was amiss. A bird was loose on the 5th floor of our office building.
While managing a project team is fraught with many risks, being barnstormed by a starling is generally an event that does not make it to my risk management plan. And, as a project manager, I'm accustomed to being **** upon, but only in the figurative sense (and the sponsor meeting hadn't even occurred yet). Poor little guy was dazed and confused, having entered through an outside hole in the soffit and then navigating his way through the vent system into our supposedly safe and sterile work environment. (Note to Security: He got in without an access badge. Where were YOU during this whole debacle???)
More amazing was the mindset of the facilities management staff, who could not and would not acknowledge that there might be a flaw in their precious building that would have allowed such a thing to occur. Even though some people observed the bird's entry into the building, it was inconceivable to them that such a thing had happened. They were blind to the obvious.
Hal of Reforming Project Management posted a great poem on his March 10th Post: Getting Unstuck that was called "Let Go of Being the Expert." If the facilities staff had done that, they would have had a better chance of catching the bird a lot faster. His March 3rd Post on Rookie Rules talks about a great article from Gantthead's Bob Weinstein that lists eight tips for success. The top of the list is humility.
In project management, we have a lot of egos running around. Too many sometimes. And it's unfortunate when the need to be right trumps the need to be humble. When winning beats reality. When height overrules heart. Then birds get lost and dazed and confused. And project managers get **** upon. Don't even get me started on the potential domino effect of that risk event.