The role of brute force in project management

Jam_jar Sometimes the only way to get the lid off a jam jar is through brute
force. Sure, you can hold it under hot water or use a cloth to get
better purchase, but ultimately what it usually takes, is sheer
strength. You’ve just got to grit your teeth and do it. Once it’s open,
it’s far easier for the next person.

The same applies to project
management. There are lots of sophisticated project management
techniques which will ‘loosen’ the top of a tricky project. But
sometimes it just takes brute force to get it going. Of course, for
most of us at work, brute force doesn’t mean physical strength. It
means focus, determination and self-discipline. Most projects get to a
point where the ‘donkey work’ just needs to happen and someone needs to
push through it. This may not be high-level but it is essential. And
make no mistake, it’s hard. It requires hours of detailed activity in
implementing the plan.

This is where many projects falter.
No-one has the strength to open the jam jar. To knuckle down and make
it happen. Lots of people can suggest running it under the tap, using
pliers, finding a tea towel. But they just can’t get the damn thing
open themselves.

No-one is born with an innate ability to focus
and power through tasks, just as we’re not born with vice-like grips.
It needs to be learned, and the muscles of focus need regular exercise
for them to grow.

It may not be glamorous but brute force can
be instrumental to a project’s success. It’s worth building up those
focus muscles, you never know when someone might hand you the jam jar
project no-one else can open.

(And once it’s open, everyone will say they loosened it for you, but you’ll know the truth…)