What is project management intuition?
It is those thoughts that you have that are not necessarily logical. These thoughts should be heeded. This might be called the gut instincts of some people. Let’s look at an example.
I managed a project that required a balanced matrix to be implemented. You will recall that this meant I shared resources with various functional managers. I had equal power with the functional managers. One functional manager was providing a key technical resource, but she wouldn’t let me speak directly with that resource. This was her rule. Everything had to pass through her. Her resource was a key technology component of the project.
The functional manager kept reassuring me that her resource was working to resolve it and that everything was fine. It was something that I didn’t like. I didn’t want to go against her wishes and directly access the resource. There was no reason for me to go behind her back, or above her head. My comfort level was not high, no matter what the reason. Guess what? Unfortunately, I was correct. It didn’t work when it was time to integrate his component. It wasn’t because he hadn’t done a good job. It was because he hadn’t done the work! His functional manager (the one who refused to speak to me directly) had not assigned the work to him. He was assigned to another project. She felt that something else was more important than her job and didn’t tell me. This didn’t go well for her, and eventually led to her demotion.
We were missing a deadline because of this. I knew I should have trusted my intuition, and my project managers intuition. Trust your gut, and you should too.
There are many other lessons to be learned. We have tools and techniques that allow us to manage our work better than we can by intuition. There would have been an early warning if there were checkpoints that allowed us to see a prototype or walk through of the work being done. This is why we break down the project work into manageable chunks. Use the tools and techniques? But don’t forget to use your project management intuition. Sometimes your intuition may be wrong, but it can also be right.
It is better to act on instinct and feel relieved when you are wrong than to ignore your intuition and discover that you were right, but it is too late.
What is project management intuition? Pay attention!