Project Practitioners > What poetry can bring to project management?

What poetry can bring to project management?

By Alfonso Bucero

Being involved in the project management profession over the years I have observed the great help that poetry has provided me during my career; I mean to learn more about how to develop my soft and hard skills to manage projects. Mainly because it helps me to understand, reflect and compare some poetry descriptions to the real project life. It does not mean that I can find answers for most of the things, but at least I spend some time thinking about that and reflecting on it.

In many of the workshops and seminars I deliver I'm including poems and metaphors that helps me a lot to share, teach and learn from it. One of my lessons learned is that poetry describes real life situations and may have different interpretations. But project management is about uncertainty, project management is about making decisions to move forward and achieve tangible, profitable an effective results through people efforts.

Gandhi has been and still is one of my favorite leaders. He has been for me an inspiration and an example during my whole life. Gandhi was a good project manager in my opinion, he influenced people without authority, and he convinced people selling them his ideas. He converted his vision into a reality in the Nation of India.

Last week, as usual, I started my day looking for positive quotes and came to me the following one: "Take care of your thoughts because they will be converted into your words, take care of your words because they will be converted into your facts, take care of your facts because they will be converted into your habits, take care of your habits because they will be converted into your destiny".

As a project manager I was not very positive about my thoughts when I was assigned as a project manager to a project. What happened was that those thoughts influenced me negatively regarding the words I used communicating to my project stakeholders and peers. As a consequence of that my facts were influenced by that negative attitude and little by little were converted into my habits. I was lucky because I believe I reacted soon in my career changing my attitude to a more positive one. You are probably familiar with my preferred sentence "TODAY IS A GOOD DAY!"

Although I wrote a book using that sentence as its title (TODAY IS A GOOD DAY!), on a daily basis I need to spend some minutes doing an attitude check, and thinking about the positive all the time. I need to confess that not all days are easy. However it is possible to do it.

Another quote I like from Gandhi is: "We must be the change we wish to see in our world". You will need to apply your passion, your persistence and your patience to make it happen, but please do not forget that "YOU CAN DO IT". Analyze your behaviors and try to see what you can improve, what you do well and what you don't do as well, and learn from it. Your people will thank you.

I would like to suggest you some best practices that I use every day. Perhaps they may add you some value or at least may help you to think about it:

  1. Find yourself: The best way to find you is to lose yourself in the service of others (Gandhi): As a project manager serve to your people, team members and project stakeholders. Be oriented to your people, facilitate, coach them.
  2. Be the change you wish to see in your project: Lead by example, be proactive, do not wait and try to move forward through your people, count on them.
  3. Love your people: Appreciate their differences and give them love and respect. Be interested about their issues and problems and be a supporter during every project you manage.
  4. Tell your people that you want them: Explain to your people that you count on them because together you will be successful in your project.
  5. Tell your people that need them: Clarify them that you need their experience, knowledge and expertise.
  6. Read a poem or quote every day: Access to internet and look for a positive quote or a poem every day. Try to obtain your interpretation and understanding and if you find something good, please use it.

Yesterday was a good day, today is a good day and tomorrow will be better. I suggest you to read poetry, it is inspirational, it helps you to dream and it helps you to see many realities in there.


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PhD C., PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI Fellow

Managing Partner

BUCERO PM Consulting




Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

Very inspirational - one of the important outcomes will be 'leadership' of your team.

This is such a marvelous sentiment, Alfonso. Thank you!

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