You Had Me at "The Project's Gone to Hell"


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In the spirit of the season, @PapercutPM is pleased to provide you this short presentation. For most of us, we’re born, we live and we die…to create a legacy, you need to try harder.

Understanding and being understood is the true currency of success.

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  • I’m Geoff Crane, Owner and Chief Consultant at Papercut Project Monitoring. In this week’s presentation, I’m going to completely capitalize on the spirit of the season by talking a little bit about positive feedback and how ultimately, it benefits you. If you’re watching this presentation, you’re probably a project manager, but it really doesn’t matter ‘cause what I have to say today applies to any human being with a pulse.

  • Now, I know you’re going to say, yah yah, that old chestnut. Say nice things, yadda yadda, you catch more flies with sugar, blah blah.

    Well, if you are saying that, I’m going to tell you to shut the hell up and listen to what I have to say.

  • Let’s just keep it real here for a second. Although you might like everyone around you think you’re a hard-hitting, titanium-armored, can-do machine, you’re a human being first. And guess what, pumpkin, like it or not, that puts you in the same boat as the rest of us.

    Every day, there’s an ocean of people around you demanding your time, your help, your advice, your money. You’re constantly under pressure and you’re scared. Deny it all you like, it’s a fact. How the hell are you supposed to find the resources or the courage to give away anything that isn’t already spoken for?

    Well you know what? That constant sea of bodies flowing all around you while you feel like you’re sitting still is made up of other human beings. And any one of them would throw their back into supporting you in small ways if they knew for a second that you shared a common bond.

    Y’see, that’s the problem with being a hard-hitting, titanium-armored, can-do machine isn’t it? You create that image for yourself because it’s what you think other people need from you, but in so doing, you cut yourself off from the bonds that would otherwise give you the strength you need to keep going.

  • Let me tell you, Chuckie, delude yourself all you like. Without strength, you’re not keeping that image up forever.

  • Now before you ask if you’re supposed to go out and buy the world a Coke or chain yourself to a tree or adopt a Cambodian orphan, y’know what, if you wanna do those things, go right ahead, it’s Christmas after all. But I think you might be better off worrying about what’s right under your nose than trying to save the world.

  • What might help a bit more? A coffee. A doughnut. While that sea of bodies is flowing all around you, stop one and offer them a kind word. Sit with them and instead of bitching about how suck-ass your life is, open up your ears and listen to them.

    Now you don’t have to do it for everyone, nobody has that much time. But two or three? I don’t care what you have going, make time.

    And whaddya think’s gonna happen? Your whole world is going to come screeching to a halt?

  • Instead of buying all those faceless people a Coke at great cost and no help to yourself, with just a tiny little effort that cost you next to nothing, you have a small group of people who you support and who support you. And as all those demands keep flying around beating the crap out of you, you’re not alone.

    Nobody likes to be alone. Alone sucks. And alone is unnecessary.

  • Look, think back for a moment about people you’ve known in your life


    ...friends, coworkers, lovers, managers...of all those people, surely there’s one or two that you would have supported to your last breath, not because you owed them, or because it was expected, but for the simple fact that they understood you at a time when you needed it. That’s a two way street, you know. If you stop trying to be a superhero for a second and listen, others will do the same for you.

    Is it risky? Maybe. But I’m not asking you to put the lives of your family or your mortgage payments in someone else’s hands. I’m asking you to give a tiny little bit of your time to a couple of the people you see every day. Not for their sake--for yours.


    Understanding and being understood. That is the true currency of success. All the rest? It’s just filler. Y’know, we’re born, we live and we die. Legacies? They’re not made of filler.

    You want to make a difference in this world? You want to be a leader?

    Well, you can be overwhelmed by the big crash of the ocean,


    or you can listen for those small sounds from others that you recognize from your own heart. As people start to see you as a shelter from all the madness, the rest will come.

  • Incidentally? This presentation was inspired by some folks who I may have already credited in my past posts or presentations. But reading their tweets, and seeing their big hearts helped put this presentation in focus so I’m shouting them out again on this slide. Dondi Scumaci, Sonia di Maulo and Bif Naked. Don’t wait, just follow them.

  • Before I finish, here’s three more people who I think deserve a shout out.

    Derek Huether cuts the crap out of project management, and has a writing style that makes some very complex concepts easy to understand. And every so often I see his pay it forward tweets.

    Deanne Earle is Unlike Before on Twitter. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about organizational change and always greets me with enthusiasm when I’m still scraping the sleep out of my eyes.

    Sharon Hayes was the first person I spoke with on Twitter and she helped me acclimate to the new medium. She has a big heart with an equally big following.

  • To my family and friends who I’ve neglected because of my work, I never stopped loving you even though I’m a surly bastard. To the rest of you, I’m Geoff Crane, owner of Papercut Project Monitoring, and I wish you all the love and joy that the season has to offer. Have a wonderful holiday.

  • You Had Me at "The Project's Gone to Hell"

    1. 1. You had me at “the project’s gone to hell”! or, shut up and spread some love. Image courtesy of Janine on Flickr.
    2. 2. *sigh* You
    3. 3. *gurgle* You
    4. 4. Cambodia
    5. 5. You
    6. 6. ?
    7. 7. Great ! tion In spira @DondiScumaci @ReadyTOFeedback @bifnaked
    8. 8. Gr eat Min ds! @derekhuether @UnlikeBefore @SharonHayes
    9. 9. [Feel free to tear off this branded slide to use the file in your own presentation]