It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do regular episodes and I’m super excited to get back on routine and post some insights for this audience. I recently finished reading The Art of Business Value by Mark Schwartz.
In my regular day job I’m a Project Manager. I work hard to help other people excel in their spaces. I enjoy coaching, mentoring, and removing obstacles to help enable their success. While it’s true that a PM is primarily responsible for organizing the work, I’ve found that my style is more centered around the teams and people.
One of the symptoms I’ve seen over and over again is how everyone seems to lose sight of the forest through the trees at some point in the project’s lifetime. When I started noticing how this phenomenon would happen to even some of the brightest people I realized that as a PM I was going to need to routinely help the team refocus on the purpose for the work they were doing. So, what was that purpose? It’s not too hard to communicate the purpose of a single project but to be effective I was going to need to develop techniques to help people see the purpose of a set of multiple and diverse projects in our organization.
The business term for the purpose of these projects is called Business Value. It’s a term that helps focus the team on not just what they were creating but why they are creating. Here’s a fun activity: bring this topic up with your team and ask them to describe to you how they each define business value. You’ll be surprised at how many different perspectives there are. You’ll also start noticing the themes. I realized that those themes were a response to the messaging that was part of the team’s on boarding to the project—and I was responsible for their onboarding—but in my organization project managers aren’t normally part of the equation for determining business value. It was a language that was foreign to me and I wanted to do something about it.
So I grabbed a book—and it’s one I recommend!!! The Art of Business Value by Mark Schwartz goes well beyond detailed descriptions of business formulas to calculate ROI and factor in the value of money in the future vs. it’s current value. Instead the book leads the reader through a healthy dialogue to truly explore this process as an art form.
I found the writing highly approachable and even comfortable—but then again I’ve read quite a bit of the material Mark references in his book. I found myself curiously guessing his next points as if I were peeking around the corner at presents wrapped under a tree. I wasn’t disappointed when things got unwrapped and I could see what was inside.
Mark’s book is an excellent read for anyone who helps to determine or deliver business value in an organization.
That pretty much covers all of us.
The direct application for me is being able to have a better conversation during my onboarding process and when I onboard our project team members. It will also help me build scheduled reminders to review the why behind what we’re doing. We all have a responsibility to help others through those moments where they can’t see the forest through the trees. This book helps me to be more prepared for that very conversation.
Have you read the book? Feel free to leave feedback below. I’d love to hear your impressions. As always feel free to explore the back catalogue of content we’ve curated at parkingthought.com and remember in a world where you can choose to be anything. Why not choose to be grateful?
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