Use your experts

Hairdresser cutting hair
No, this isn’t me.

The best thing about going to the hairdressers is having someone wash my hair. The second best thing is being able to sit there for an hour and be lost in my thoughts while someone makes me beautiful. I don’t talk to my hairdresser about holidays or work, and we have fallen into companionable silence. I will, however, ask her advice. After all, she is the expert. A haircut is also an hour with access to hair expertise.

“Do you think it’s worth buying hair straighteners?”

She pauses mid-cut. “Not really. Your hair is already straight.”

“I thought people use them to make their hair curly.”

“Well, yes.” She tugs on the comb. “Straighteners isn’t really the right term. You shouldn’t use them every day.”

“I know someone who does.”

She looks horrified. “You should protect your hair from heat.” We have a discussion about heat protection sprays. She explains how conditioner works and tells me off for not using it regularly.

I learn things.

I am surrounded by experts. I work with lawyers, software developers, SEO experts. In fact, most of my work as a project manager involves knowing which experts to ask. I don’t have much knowledge myself but I know a lot of people who know a lot.

Planning, risk management, issue resolution: all these are tasks the project manager leads that need expert input to. You can’t estimate by yourself sitting at a desk. The people who are doing the work should contribute to the process. This results in better quality estimates and business buy in and therefore it is better for the project.

We should rely on experts. As project managers, our role is to get things done through others and involving the others as much as possible has to be good.

How do you involve experts in your projects? Or are there scenarios where you feel you don’t need to involve anyone else?