Project management genius and the wisdom of sharing it during ‘Project Vacation’

As the principal partner of Solutia SDO, Jackie Clark has had a direct role in managing the people behind the technology that’s transformed businesses across Canada. When IT projects stall, this seasoned leader, who’s had a front seat watching tech transform business in Canada, knows how to manage people to get projects running again. This bi-weekly column is for leaders working on enterprise-wide projects searching for insight on navigating the issues and pain points that hijack success. We’ll be sharing the most common questions Clark hears from her clients and her responses to them. Do you want your project management problems solved? Leave a comment with your question or  Tweet Jackie @sdosolutia.

I spend my day planning everyone’s work, checking up that it’s been done, solving problems and anticipating where additional mines might be buried in the road. I conduct meetings with top executives and deal with their (sometimes irrational) issues with poise and confidence. I get the job done! I am proud of these great skills. Okay, I admit, sometimes I apply them to my project called ‘Family and Friends.’ How do I separate what I do during the day from my personal life?

If you handle your partner, kids, and friends the same as your work team you may not be very popular around the house. I don’t know about you but the first time I tried out the semi-annual performance review with my husband it didn’t result in a productive two-way dialogue. My recap of his strengths, areas for development, and training requirements ended up exhausting my skills in managing objections.

It’s hard not to bring the job home. But now that the summer has (finally) arrived, here are some tips to run a successful project called ‘Vacation’ on time, on budget, and with everyone happy and relaxed at the end.

  1. Perform your ‘stakeholder analysis.’ As you know from your professional experience, every person or group impacting your project requires unique handling based on their contribution and influence. Beware, your family and friends may want to have lots of input on their roles and responsibilities and have a set role for you in mind too.
  2. Sell don’t tell: Just like at the office this is a delicate distinction that will make or break your relationships with your ‘Project Vacation’ team. Every now and then you may need to step in to guide the plan by providing the cost/benefits of a recommended course of action. Streaming Netflix for 5 days straight or taking a road trip…..hummm.

But here’s the best tip of all….

  1. Relax already!: Every kick-ass project manager needs some downtime to recharge. Put the job aside and take a break – you’ve earned it!.

I hope everyone has a wonderful time with your families this Canada Day. I look forward to sharing more insights over the summer.


Jackie Clark
Jackie Clark
Program and change management expert in digital and data transformation, and technology system reengineering.

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