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Conditions may vary

Project management is all about taking a team from Point A to Point B to deliver an outcome. It’s a journey that often follows the same path. Organizations that execute the same project types multiple times are the paved roads of project management. If you can’t manage ambiguity, then seek this type of a project management role. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be the first project managers replaced by artificial intelligence.

Most of the roles I’ve filled in project management align with the definition of a project. Each one is unique. Even when the outcome we want is the same, how we get there will vary based on the conditions we encounter along the way. This requires us to embrace the current situation, reset expectations, and moderate our speed.

I was reminded of this as I ran our beach for about the 200th time this morning. The first 1.5 miles are predictable. It starts on pavement and continues into a tidal marsh. The conditions are predictable. When I reach the creek and turn toward the bay, all bets are off. The tides and storms constantly change the running conditions. I’m often forced to apply rolling wave planning, picking the best line on the mixed stones and sugar sand to get as far down the beach as I can. Sometimes as little as 20 feet. Then I repeat my short term planning. On these days I embrace the fact that I need to pace myself to make it to the finish without running out of energy.

What’s your preference for project management? Do you prefer paved roads, or is the thrill of the beach that energizes you?

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