As I am only approaching my second year with a full-time-adult-job-and-semi-adult-life in this thing we call the “real world,” I have little to no formal experience with the role of Project Manager. While I’ve certainly lead and completed projects, I have never been solely responsible for managing a project from beginning to end with respect to a defined budget, timeline, and scope. I’ve also never assessed the work of others or had the opportunity to choose team members based on their level of expertise.
Taking on the role as Senior Project Manager at Delphi Printers & Peripherals was essentially my first experience with project management. Before running the simulation, I had little understanding and, embarrassingly, not enough respect for project managers. Having obsessively run the simulation about 30 times, my most important take aways are these:
- Project Management is NOT easy.
- Balance is KEY.
- Team member morale matters.
The project included specs such as number of team members, skill level of team members, outsourcing, status meetings, one-on-one coaching, overtime, etc. Never did I imagine so many particulars could be involved and bare so much importance on a single project. On the outset, it seems like the budget and deadline were the law of the land. Over time and after many poor results, I found that while money and time are obviously crucial, the key to a successful project is balance. I received my best score on the runs with specs that had an even balance between skill level, team members, and number of meetings. I had my lowest returned score on the simulations in which I granted team members no status check-ins or coaching. Team morale was as low as my score! The Project Management Simulation was extremely difficult for me to get right, and in turn I have a much greater respect for successful project managers who can complete high level projects similar to the one at Delphi.