Saturday morning. The sun is coming through the blinds of the window in my bedroom. Not much sleeping in is done, though it’s a nice time to lay there and not do much.
Turn the T.V. on to A&E. Around this time in the morning a lot of home improvement shows come, including one of my favorites, Flip This House. We recently started watching this show and become instantly hooked. I love watching the DiY, home improvement and design shows. My wife enjoys watch for ideas to do in our own house. I also enjoy it for that reason but more so for a completely non-house-flipping standpoint.
Flip This House features a variety of different house flipping and investment gurus. Among them is Armando Montelongo, a San Antonio flipper who now also sells books & DVDs teaching people how to “get rich” flipping houses. Armando is loud, hot-tempered and has a no-BS approach to flipping houses. I love it.
My career has taken me from college dreamer, waiting tables and hosting karaoke shows, to web developer & wedding photographer to my current role as project manager for one of Houston’s largest B2B Internet Marketing agencies. I can truly say I’ve sat on both sides of the desk. I’ve lived through the designs-by-committee and the misdirections of the un-knowledgeable (I think I just made up a word). Now I’m managing time-lines, expectations, cupcake consumption and project scopes. Not so much the cupcake consumption, but one can dream.
So what does one have to do with the other, you might ask. Well, I’m glad you did ask, otherwise this next part will be a moot point.
When I’m watching shows like Flip This House, one key element speaks to me. Project Management. Being a project manager for flipping houses or any type of project carries with it a lot of inherent responsibilities. Your juggling Client expectations with internal policies, time-lines, personalities, etc.
When you’re flipping a house you set a goal to be in-and-out in X amount of days/weeks. Same thing applies with web development. A Project Manager must know when the dry-wall crew is coming so they’re not butting heads with the painters. They need to allow the painters to do their job before the tile guy gets there and the tile guy needs to be done before the floor guys do their part. It’s managing multiple layers (and personalities) so the operation runs as smoothly as possible.
It’s rarely perfect, if ever. Someone drops the ball, shows up late or does something not-to-standard; which then delays the project and you’re shifting budgets, people, time-lines and everything else in between.
The more I watch the mistakes of the contractors in these shows and how people like Armando and his Project Managers handle these situations, the better I feel about how I manage my time, our team and the Client’s expectations. They inspire me to be firm, but understanding; flexible without conceding my goals and authoritative without being “that guy” who’s unrealistic.
I can only keep trying to better myself which will then, in my hopes, inspire others around me to do the same. My desk is clean and organized – which leaves my mind and body relaxed. My computer desktop never has more than 2-5 icons on it. My folders are labeled and legible.
These small things keep me from loosing control. Control of my projects, my team and more importantly, myself. I physically touch the folders in my organizer and make mental notes on where that project is. And, if I can’t answer to myself where it is, I ensure I’ve taken the proper measures to know its status.
There are plenty of other examples; TV shows, books and movies that inspire people to whatever it is that they do. While watching another show I love, Dirty Jobs, host Mike Rowe reflected on a quote that I now see is probably over-and-missed used. “Be passionate about your job”. He responded with “bring your passion to your job”. So whatever is that inspires you, bring it to the table and use it in one way or another that helps you do your job better. Update: Check out this awesome TED talk featuring Mike Rowe.
What show(s), books, blog(s) and blogger(s) or [fill-in-the-blanks] inspire you to do your job better?
Photo by: klearchos