Project Management Lessons of 2023 by Darren Bryson

Reflecting back on the past year, I’ve gathered some lessons and observations from my project management experience. Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. It’s About Integrity, Not Just Winning: In one of my more challenging projects, I encountered low morale, disputes, and a general mistrust. It was a stark reminder that winning isn’t just about the end goal; it’s about doing what’s right. Through open communication and allowing each stakeholder to voice their concerns, the team came together, over time, to create solutions to overcome project issues that respected everyone’s interests. This experience reinforced to me again that success is always more fulfilling when it’s achieved with integrity.
  2. Valuing Every Contribution: On another project, I realized the importance of every team member’s input. Initially, some team members were hesitant to share their thoughts, and in the hurry to get things done, we sometimes take short cuts. But when encouraged, their contributions proved to be invaluable. This taught me that every voice matters and can be critical to the success of a project.
  3. Building Trust to Forge Strong Relationships: Perhaps the most challenging project this year involved relentless issues and a disconnected team. Progress was hindered due to a lack of engagement, accountability, and clarity. To address this, we transformed our communication approach, favoring regular meetings over emails and establishing a real-time decision-making framework. This experience taught me that trust is the cornerstone of effective teamwork. You can’t buy, borrow, or rent trust; it must be earned, and it’s essential for stepping out of comfort zones and tackling complex problems together.

These experiences have not just been about managing projects but also about managing relationships and integrity. They’ve shown me that the path to success is leading large and diverse teams is built on trust, collaboration, and a commitment to doing what’s right.

– Darren