If I were to look back on my professional experience working as a Project Manager and my most challenging days in that role, I’d have to admit that my worst day as a Project Manager was when I had to admit to failure. Up to that point I had never been in such a position before and was quite fortunate.
This is because I had always been pretty good at what I was doing. This gave me a sort of false sense of confidence I think as I had always felt that I was someone who succeeded due to either my tenacity or stubbornness, and sincere care for what I was doing.
Therefore when I first confronted failure, it was strange for me. I thought, “well I have done all the training and got the skills required, so why have I found myself in this position?”
So, what actually happened?
It all happened while I was working with four Keen projects simultaneously. And anyone who has worked on multiple projects at a time would know that’s far too many. However at that age and level, I did not know how to say that it was too much for me and did not know how to set healthy boundaries as to what I was actually capable of. I pushed my limits too far and took on way too much than I could handle, simply because I was stubborn and did not want to accept defeat.
And as you may have guessed already, I got extremely burnt out, both mentally and physically. I even had to take ‘sick time’ off and went down quite a dark tunnel in my life. Eventually after a lot of introspection and letting go of pride, I sat down with my leadership and admitted to them that the workload was too much for me to handle and that I needed help.
In the end we were able to complete all the projects in a timely manner without compromising the project outcomes. I was amazed by how helpful having someone working alongside me was and how we were able to improve product quality through collective innovation and transparency.
This experience therefore taught me that admitting to failure is a strength not a weakness, is courageous, and lastly that we are stronger together than we are alone.
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Pragmatic Shift is a Scrum Training, Agile Consulting, and Agile Coaching consultancy that specialises in delivering Scrum.Org certified scrum courses, and helping organisations increase their business agility and product development success through agile consulting and coaching.
We firmly believe that a shift to agile is a pragmatic shift. A natural evolution from traditional project management and product management. A proven, reliable, and resilient framework for addressing compelling problems and developing complex solutions.
Over a decade’s worth of experience as an agile practitioner, agile consultant, agile coach, and scrum trainer informs our pragmatic approach to change. Agile dogma has no value in the context of product development or organisational change.
Instead, we look to start where you are, work with what you have, and make meaningful interventions that align with the objectives you are trying to achieve.
Progress over perfection.
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