Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Pressures and Pleasures of Projects

The Pressures and Pleasures of Projects

A very tiring overnight flight brought me back to KL again. My trip to Colombo has been pretty fruitful one; I managed to bring the project to the finishing lap. But there are still a few critical hurdles to cross and I need to ensure that my week in KL now is spent very productively.

One day of rest and no more! I need to resume work while the facts are still fresh in my head. It is always a challenge to juggle two projects at the same time because once you leave one behind to concentrate on another, you tend to lose track of the first one. It becomes extremely difficult task to pick it up again later.

That's what happened to me with the Colombo project. The year-end holiday season, the tsunami disaster and my trips to Indonesia derailed me slightly. But I'm glad that I'm back on track again. It's such a difficult project too because the client's expectations are high.

Sometimes I wonder why I choose to do what I do because it is such a difficult job. I have to handle so many different disciplines of knowledge at the same time, understand the people and politics in the customer's environment within a short timeframe and conjure up some kind of solution that is palatable to everyone--often out of nothing, all on my own.

I jokingly told my Sri Lankan partner, Duhan the other day that the work I do is not possible if I'm a married man. He agreed with me because he has seen how mentally consuming the task is, not to mention the sheer amount of time that I have to spend on it.

But I try not to look at my work as some kind of pressure. I've always treated work-related pressure positively and work itself is nothing but a workout that helps me to hone my skills. A project is a journey of learning and self-discovery--one enters into a lot of unknown and uncertainty but whatever the outcome is, one definitely learns something from it. The principle is: do not be too emotionally attached to the outcome. Give it your best, complete it and move on. Pass and move.

Again, we have to remind ourselves that work is not a matter of life and death. The people behind them are more important. To me, the real reward of project work is actually the people that you get to know along the way. You are able to experience a slice of their world, and enrich your own in the process. Well, I suppose people read blogs for the same reason too...

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