Global Material Handling System Integrators

How a Project Go-Live Compares to Having a New Baby

Project management vs. NewbornMy wife and I were recently blessed with a newborn baby that came on Thanksgiving Day 2013. I couldn’t help but think during labor and the week after my son was born how the process and activities of being a parent are very comparative to being directly involved in a project go-live as a project manager. Here are some items that stood out in my mind.

1. Sleep goes out the window

As a project manager during a go-live and as a parent, you think many times to yourself, “When’s the next chance I’ll be able to sleep again.” When you take those first steps out of the nursery after laying the baby in the crib only to hear him/her start whaling again, it sure seems a lot like leaving the job site after a long day only to remember you need to send out a status report to the project team when you get back to your hotel/home.

2. Scope Creep

Things come up that you do not expect. Going into parenthood you think you have all the information needed: You took the baby class. You read the books, but all of that can’t prepare you 100% for when that baby comes. Every go-live usually has something occur for which you aren’t prepared, even after passing the PMP classes, having weekly customer meetings, and project specifications defined. However, successful project managers and parents tough through the issues and figure out how to make things work.

3. Resources are essential

During go-lives, a project manager will take as much help as he can afford. As a new parent, you’re more than willing to let the grandparents hold the baby while you take a nap after being up all night, or have friends or family bring you meals so you don’t have to cook. As a project manager and a parent, extra resources relieve stress, make the customer happy, and help create success.

4. Dieting? I don’t think so…

When working through the nights, it is very easy to have a 4th meal. When tired and time is essential, you don’t always go for a salad or vegetables, and why not drink those energy drinks to help stay awake?

5. Lessons learned

Whether it is writing them down or taking mental notes, you’re continuously thinking about how you can do better next time around. (Even if your wife is saying during labor there isn’t going to be a next time.)

6. Lockdown

The hospital won’t let you leave until staying a certain amount of hours, and friends and family are gracious enough to bring you meals so you can be by your baby’s side. Sounds a lot like customers who might not want you to leave in case issues arise and often provide your meals so you don’t have to. I must note that the project manager is usually just as responsible for not wanting to leave during critical times and will skip meals until a comfort level is reached.

7. Meetings

During go-lives, it is obvious that meetings are needed to keep the project team up to date, make sure the team is on the critical path, and address any issues that have arose. I was naive in this aspect with having a baby as I didn’t plan to schedule multiple appointments with the pediatricians, hospital staff, and to get birth documents in order, but you’re happy to do it to ensure the health and well-being of your child just like the meetings during go-live.

8. At the end of it all, you’re proud

Both babies and go-lives are a lot of work and can be stressful, frustrating, and exciting. But when all is said and done, you’re proud of your accomplishments and output!

Author: Derek Cribley

I have been with Bastian for 20 years. I originally served as a Project Manager and Design Engineer, before being promoted to Manager of the Systems and Controls groups and eventually to my current role, Director of Advanced Technology. I enjoy the fast-paced projects we get involved with and solving our customer's problems with solutions customized to their operations. I am proud of our employees and their dedication to make every project successful for our customers.


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