I heard someone say that the best project managers were the ones who were capable of “seeing around corners” on a project. These were the project managers who were checking to see if there was an oncoming truck before trying to cross the road. At the time, the ability to “see around corners” was treated like some sort of sixth sense. It was as though certain people had an innate capability to detect issues that would threaten to derail a project that the rest of us didn’t have.
Of course there are two things you can do to acquire this magical ability for yourself:
- Ask the team what issues are blocking (or going to block) them. A team is an amazingly smart and remarkably intelligent beast. As a collective, it will detect danger long before any individual will. It works in the office just as well as it does for a herd of gazelle on the plains of Africa.
- Pay attention. That means keeping track of the issues that block the team. Follow up and review the impediments at reviews & retrospectives. Keep the impediments visible to everyone. Do everything you can to insure that the team learns and doesn’t forget.