I spent some time thinking about the perfect project and realized that even across my small team, all with very similar goals and personalities, the answer differs vastly from person to person.
For some, the perfect project is analytical and manages data and reports. For example, such projects include apps that measure social impact, dashboards that display real-time metrics of user interactions, platforms that help educate on financial health, and apps that gauge donor literacy and provide education on better informed philanthropy.
For others, the perfect project is creative and strategic. These projects focus on the how instead of the what questions. These project managers enjoy answering “How do we engage the community?”, rather that delivering “What is the number of users engaged with the application?”
There are of course projects that merge the analytical and creative aspects. These are challenging projects as we’re usually either right or left brained, so as project managers we should recognize our strengths and know when to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but rather the sign of a good leader and the project will be better served for it.
Another driving factor for me and is certainly the mission of partner organizations with whom I work. I left corporate america and the fast-paced world of M&A Services because I ended a day’s work with little satisfaction for what I had accomplished. I was good at my job and I did love project and team management, but what did I have to show for it other than deeper pockets? My heart was conflicted and I was stressed out. Despite a promotion, I was actually unhappy. I needed something more fulfilling, and while I wasn’t officially looking for new work, HiDef’s job posting was like a beacon in a storm that led me where I am today: Fulfilled, happy, serving the greater good. I loved my clients when worked in M&A Services, but I not only love HiDef’s partners, I genuinely connect with their missions and am driven to serve them better.
I believe that the best projects don’t dictate what communities need, but rather they identify what’s available and find creative ways to fill in what’s missing…
However, mission is where our team of project managers range from one end of the spectrum to the other. We vary on the passion scale depending on whether the project serves local or international communities, the WASH sector or micro-finance and impact investing, sustainable living, green energy, faith missions, education, literacy, or human rights. Often, our projects blend one or more of these categories.
I am passionate about faith-oriented missions, projects that help the disadvantaged, especially when those served are children, and empowering communities in poverty. My perfect project is one where I can serve as a strategic thinker. I believe that the best projects don’t dictate what communities need, but rather they identify what’s available and find creative ways to fill in what’s missing in a way that will not only serve the people, but actually involves them so that the change is welcomed, utilized, and will thus create a better, more lasting impact on the community.
Whatever your perfect project may be, take the time to think about it, assess your strengths and weaknesses, find your passion, and whenever possible, select projects that align with your skills and interests. Your partners and your sanity will thank you for it.