Updated: Feb 8
Often times as we grow in our leadership roles we rely more and more on ‘gut feelings’ and ‘sixth senses’. While a lot of good leaders can manage this way it’s often backed up by something that is substantiated and quantifiable. Whether it’s an experience in the same situation that is driving a decision or even hard data that points a leader to make the call they make, it’s important that we balance our feelings with something quantifiable to help justify our decision.
Great project managers (or leaders in general) tend to have one characteristic in common – experience. Whether that’s career experience or even just life experience, experience can absolutely help leaders navigate tricky situations to help make the best decision for the project/organization. It’s important not to confuse experience with just raw feelings. What we take away (or feel) from a specific conversation may not align with what the hard data (whether that’s a past similar situation or actual statistics) and we must take pause to ensure that our decisions are reflective of some level of data or experience justification.
This doesn’t just apply to decisions either. Making project assessments absolutely need to be quantifiable. As an organization leader (or project sponsor) have you ever been told by a project manager that they ‘feel’ the project will come in on time and on budget without any corroborating data? How did that make YOU feel? A cardinal mistake that a lot of less experienced project managers make will be to get up in front of a steering committee and make project assessments and assertions without the data to back it up and justify it by the good week that they may have just had.
Going with your gut feeling is often a great survival instinct, even as a project manager or organizational leader. However, it’s absolutely crucial that this gut feeling be backed up by some sort of data whether it’s tangible hard numbers or a previous similar experience that you can rely on to quantify the decision or assessment you are making.