How to Deliver a Project That You Do Not Buy Into?

Have you ever worked on a project you do not buy into?

I have.

In 2010.

And let me confess this – it was extremely challenging.

Sure, I had so called skills to “manage” my external behaviors but it could not have gone worse than that.

What was the real problem?

Inner Drive.

I did not feel motivated to work on that project.

…and I was to be “responsible” to deliver the project.

I had three options:

  1. Accept the project and just do it regardless my buy-in
  2. Clearly convey that I won’t execute this project no matter what
  3. Have a discussion with its sponsors and its impact on the organization

If I had accepted the project without communicating anything, I would not have given my best. If you don’t believe in something, you can’t give it your best shot. That’s disservice.

If I had conveyed that I won’t execute this project then I might have to take extreme steps which were not required – I did not have any issues with the project sponsors. They counted on me to deliver the project and I had to do something about it.

So I had a discussion with project’s sponsors and I did my best to understand why it is important.

Project Sponsors shared their point of view. They also said that they believe in my abilities to deliver such type of projects effortlessly.

Still, I was not able to convince myself that I should work on this project. Ufff, that “drive” thing, that keeps you awake at 2am in the night if that’s what the project takes.

But then I figured out a way.

“I’ll get this project done,” I said.

And I convinced the project sponsors to get the project done in my own way. All they cared was getting the project delivered. They were not much concerned about the “how” part of it.

I took the project of handing over this project to someone who buys into it.

I could do it in about a week’s time.

The project got over in about four weeks.The “new” guy who took over the project did an excellent job.

The project sponsors got what they wanted.

I did not have to work on the project that I did not believe in.

The new guy also added a successful project in his profile. He was happy about it.

Win-win-win.

Tactfully I was able to get myself away from what I did not believe in while having other people deliver the project.

“People who feel good about themselves produce good results,” ~ One Minute Manager

Cannot agree more.

Was my way right?

It was because it worked.

Is my way the silver bullet which will work no matter what Enterprise Environmental Factors are?

Absolutely no.

My take: When you find yourself in a situation where you do not want to be in, you have to figure out a way that works, in your unique situation.

Being a project manager is a middle management job only if you look at it that way. It is a great leadership opportunity to solve the problems. Of yours. And your organization’s.