The Slalom Difference…

Slalom Consultant Carl Manello

Carl Manello is a Solution Lead for Program & Project Management based in Chicago who enjoys exploring how to tightly couple the art and science of project delivery with business operations.

“If all responsibility is imposed on you, then you may want to exploit the moment and want to be overwhelmed by the responsibility; yet if you try, you will notice that nothing was imposed on you, but that you are yourself this responsibility.”
–Franz Kafka

One of my favorite ways to think about the Slalom difference is that our consultants are always tuned in to do more.  While we are brought in to our clients and trusted to deliver what they want, we always leave a little bit of our capacity to think about what else we can do for them–even if they have not specifically been asked.  In a 2009 version of PM Network, the PMI’s global glossy publication, Roberto Toledo wrote his viewpoint.  I’ve borrowed heavily from his short essay.

Project managers are constantly told our sole responsibility is to accomplish our projects within the scope, time, and cost boundaries set by our customers and stakeholders. If we do only as we are told by our clients, we begin to resemble those horses with blinders on their eyes to block their peripheral vision and focus them solely on the path they are running.  Slalom consultants make sure that as project managers we do not lose sight of the big picture—projects are a means for our clients to accomplish strategic organizational objectives.

Here are four things we keep in mind as we focus on our client’s projects:

1.  We are passionate about what we’re doing and we communicate that enthusiasm to everyone involved in the project.

Team members, stakeholders, and customers know how we care about the end-result of the project—and about the benefits the project is expected to deliver to the overall organization.

2.  If our clients don’t know what they want, it’s not their fault!

We work with our customers to understand their needs. Then we find the best solution.  This is our natural perspective as a long-time partner.

3. We constantly try to identify additional opportunities based on the project you’re working on.

We treat these findings as a means to better serve our clients, not as a way to promote scope creep. We are clear about separating the line between delivery and advancing Slalom; we defer to “do what is right for the customer!”.

4.  We don’t focus only on short term goals.

Slalom will keep a focus on our customers’ strategic objectives.

While my general life philosophy is more optimistic than Franz Kafka’s, I do agree that we all have the opportunity to make our own responsibility.

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About Carl M. Manello
I am Slalom Consulting's Practice Lead for Delivery Effectiveness. I work to support organizations' capability and delivery maturity -- not just IT organizations -- so that their initiatives run more predictably, efficiently and provide the best results.

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