What are project managers grateful for on Thanksgiving?

gratitudeHarvard Business Review has published a number of articles on the benefits of expressing authentic gratitude on a regular basis with one of the most recent ones providing insights into how gratitude could further one’s career.

Last year during Canadian Thanksgiving, I wrote an article listing a few blessings which project managers should be grateful for. It’s American Thanksgiving, so now that the frenzy of Black Friday and turkey-induced tryptophan lethargy has come and gone, here are a few more reasons to feel grateful about project management.


The very uncertainty which is the source of many of the risks on our projects is also what makes things so interesting. Processes are supposed to be stable and only exhibit common cause variation – projects are not. One of the reasons many of us got into this profession was to avoid doing the same thing day in and day out so raise a glass of apple cider to variety.

Lifelong learning

It doesn’t matter how many projects you’ve successfully managed – you can never call yourself a project management “grand master”. While this can seem intimidating at first, it is actually comforting to think that there’s always more to learn, especially when it comes to honing your soft skills.

Value creation

Strategic objectives are achieved through the successful completion of projects. The ease of pointing to a unique, valuable deliverable and saying “I managed the creation of that” varies depending on the industry or domain you are in, but all project managers should take pride that they have helped deliver something greater than just the sum of the inputs which went into their projects.

Helping others advance

Part of being a good servant-leader is helping those you lead to achieve their personal objectives. Yes, you could be a functional manager and help your direct reports in advancing their capabilities and careers, but as a project manager you have the opportunity to do it on a much broader scale when you consider all the team members and stakeholders you will interact with over the course of managing multiple projects.

Coaches & mentors

I challenge any project manager to claim that they have gained competency in the profession on their own without the assistance from one or more mentors. Whether it is receiving feedback on how to tackle a particularly challenging soft skills issue, having someone navigate us through the politically charged waters of a new organization or simply teaching us how to use a new project management tool, the support of coaches and mentors has been critical to our success.

Last but not least, let’s be grateful for our families & friends. Having their support helps to reduce the frustrations which come with what is sometimes a thankless job.

Start a gratitude journal, and make every day feel like Thanksgiving!






Categories: Project Management | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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