On April 6, I presented a new topic at the PMI Winnipeg lunch meeting. Over the last 10 years or so, my team of movie nuts have been watching movies for project management moments. I know. I know. It is just a little twisted but the results are so effective. This activity has produced many gems that have found their way into stories, courses and examples that entertain both aspiring and seasoned project managers.
The topic of the presentation is “Marvin the Martian: PM Lessons from Mars”. Anyone who has ever watched the Marvin cartoons is usually struck by his dedication to the process whether it is working or not. Marvin is so dedicated to the end result that he forgets to make any process improvements. As with all projects, there is always a stakeholder whose sole mission is to add interest to your life. Marvin’s opposition is usually Bugs Bunny.
The first PM lesson from Mars is ‘Beware the Rabbit.”
How many of us have had project stakeholders who exhibited all the characteristics of that ‘pesky’ rabbit? The rabbit, for the sake of this discussion, is any stakeholder who thinks outside the box or whose mission is to build a new box. Think about it.
Bugs never behaves as expected. He is always working an angle, reverse engineering an outcome, irritating the other person with incessant chatter, overly interested in the most minute things and nothing is ever too difficult for the rabbit. An additional irritant is that Bugs never takes anything overly seriously and care little about the outcome.
The golden nugget is “never assume that everyone is on-side or that they will share their agenda.” Project teams are created to solve a specific problem with a diverse group of individuals with even more diverse skills. It is more likely than not that the project manager is going to have to assume the role of amateur detective to determine what is necessary to create an environment where each team member can contribute. After all, Marvin and Bugs just had to stop and listen to each other.