You want your team to succeed but helping them learn how can be difficult.
Standard practices and procedures can ensure consistency but can’t guarantee success. Every project is unique, and the standard practices don’t always fit the situations that arise.
Stories about your work stimulate curiosity. Team members will seldom read procedure manuals, but most will eagerly devour short stories, even off the job. Stories are memorable. The messages stemming from a related, real-world experience tend to stick and can be easily recalled.
Good stories are a better way to help your team learn about the lessons of the past. Stories bring people together, enable them to how to achieve success through the eyes of others, and understand how they can benefit from the story’s lessons.
Learning Through Stories
In 1998, Alexander Laufer and Edward Hoffman conceived a new way to help current and future project managers learn how to become successful. They sought out successful managers and asked them to tell stories about their projects. They collected these and published them in a book titled Project Management Success Stories. Managers frequently find stories that relate to situations like their own. Some read the stories to learn about situations they may face in the future.
One project manager read one story from the book each evening before he went to bed. About that, he said: “Each morning when I got up, I could not stop thinking about the previous night’s story. I kept thinking about it as if it was an ongoing movie. Whenever I finished a story, I added another milestone on my road to success.” That reader provided evidence that each story offers one or more special insights that you can weave into your understanding of how to make projects successful in real-life situations.
In a new book, Project Success Stories: Real World Adventures in Project Management, Bill Flury presents 28 stories drawn from his experience in successfully managing 85 challenging and widely varied projects. The stories all relate to situations that required thoughtful application of the standard practices described in the several different project management handbooks on his bookshelf.
This book has become a favorite teaching aid by several training organizations and has received very favorable comments from the trainees. They love the real-world aspects of the stories and find it easy to apply them in their day-to-day work.
Bill Flury is a project management consultant. Article used by permission.