A multi-million-dollar project experience

“All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically. The key to creativity is to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blueprint of the desired result.” ― Stephen Covey

Since it is not often in one’s career to manage a vast and expensive project, it is vital to take note of the project planning, team cooperation, and chain of command.

In a project like this, a team is often given everything to do well―talented professionals, conferences, good salary, and plentiful resources―but this doesn’t mean that the team will be able to hit the target.

In the light, here’s my story of managing a five-million-dollar worth project. Though I already managed many teams, I still find it hard to manage this project since it is also my first time to manage a huge team as this.

What does five million dollar looks like?

Without digging deep into the details, the project that I’m managing is about providing a way to build a faster client-side application for a financial sector. In this project, here are a few things that I encountered:

  • 20 software developer (front-end and back-end) plus HR overhead
  • 2 QA resources
  • Two project managers
  • Two architect (Me being one of them)
  • A huge backlog

Idleness vs Delegation

When we started the project, we realized that the given requirements were vague―the user interface was missing, and many documentations were not yet written.

To be honest, I had more developers than the workloads that I must give them. Because of that, I came to a solution, and it was to mix up the workloads and determine what we’re doing at the time. Thus, we had endless meetings, sleepless nights, and long conversations. But after some time, we realized that we’ve been breaking our backs for a wrong solution. And I also realized what I did wrong.

I realized I was trying to do all the research instead of letting my team help me. I was anxious about giving away my responsibilities because I’m afraid to lose my authority.

The team lead becomes a single point of failure and does not use the team
The team gains ownership to define requirements and deliver them

After contemplating, I now understood that there’s no such thing as that.

As a leader, I fathomed that there were two things that I must do, and those are to delegate and to motivate. A leader is meant to encourage his team to do better, instead of making his team as his beck and call. Also, a leader must show his team how to do a certain work rather than just telling them how to do it.

Consequently, as I took this approach, I learned what it truly means to be a leader. I also learned how to cut someone some slack. What’s more is that I also saw how my team became motivated and responsible when it comes to the workloads that they’re doing. Having that said, both my team and I learned to see the big picture despite the dilemmas that we’ve faced during the entire project, and in the end, all of us were able to reap the fruits of our labor.

The value of money

As for anyone, it is hard to visualize how much a five-million-dollar budget could be. Having a budget as expensive as this, a lot of expectations come at hand. Some people are just waiting as to what the project outcome will be, and some may have thoughts as such:

· What worth can you provide to the company’s shareholders?

· How can the project be beneficial to the customers?

· Why does your every decision needs to be backed up with valid points?

· Why didn’t we outsource this work?

Though there were numerous questions that one may think, none of those affected me. The only thing that hit me is the trust that my superior gave me when it comes to making decisions and everything that is related to the project. He made me realize that there’s a value attached to everything that we do. Additionally, he made us realize that we must be mindful since many people are expecting a lot from the project.

Points to ponder

All throughout the project phase, I experienced and learned a lot of things. I learned how to be thoughtful of others, and made new friends. I learned how to mingle with others, and know what leadership is all about.

Fortunately, the project was successful. And with that, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the people who helped me make all these things possible and I’m thankful for the effort that they gave in to this project.