Pressure pushes me to work efficiently and at pace. It’s an environment where I perform at my best. I think it comes from my years of playing high-level hockey, where the adrenaline will propel you to dive to save a goal in the dying seconds of a grand final. My hard work and preparation get me there, and when the stakes are high, I do what is necessary to get the job done.
- Tools and processes - When everything is going a million miles an hour and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I utilize task management software (e.g. Asana). The all project tasks will be ordered by priority and everyone knows what they are doing, whether I am in the office or not. When this list is up-to-date my team members are confident and thrive on the structure.
- Understanding people and what they respond to - Everyone reacts to pressures differently and I need to adjust my approach to suit. I currently work with a developer who gets overwhelmed with one large task list for example “Launch website”. Under pressure, he tends to rush and make mistakes. Collaboratively, we decided on a daily task list with sprints to smaller milestones would help him to work at pace, without feeling overwhelmed.
- Breathe and walk away from the desk - which sounds minor but as the pressure mounts I struggle to find clarity. I remind myself to walk away from my desk and take 3 deep breaths. If a team member is struggling, I’ll say ‘let’s go grab a coffee and talk through this in another space in the office’. I find it gives the brain a chance to reset.
With a cool head and a collection of proven management tools, I know I have what is needed to deliver results no matter what the stakes.
Project Case Study
Project - Ride For Youth is Australia's premier charity event for the prevention of youth suicide and depression. The event raises funds for Youth Focus, a mental health not-for-profit based in Western Australia. The project was to build an engaging fundraising, donation and events platform.
Project Management Challenge - This was a development heavy project that required a large number of developers working in parallel. In the initial stages of the project, scope and complexity was agreed upon by all stakeholders and noted in a business rules document.
We needed to build a robust and flexible system that would handle standard fundraising operations but also very rare edge case scenarios associated with user profiles, teams, refunds, withdrawals, and multiple-organiser event reconciliations. When we integrated all the moving parts, the team started to feel the pressure. Many developers were starting to get frustrated with the never-ending bug list and the deadline was looming.
Delivering results under pressure - I could see the team struggling and feeling individual pressure, so I scheduled one on one meetings. This gave each person a chance to let off some steam and we then collaborated on the best way to tackle the week ahead.
I approached each meeting differently with my knowledge of individual personalities and motivations. We overcame a variety of roadblocks by revising their action lists, reordering their priorities or delegating tasks to more suitable team members.
Paired with a team ‘pep talk’ to make sure everyone was on the same page, we powered through the week with energy and successfully launched the site.