Posted by: projectsinpractice | March 5, 2012

From Peep Show to Full Monty

Bonnie here:

I’ve never been to a peep show. (Really.) But I imagine one is a lot like authoring a book (and other projects, for that matter.) True, a peep show costs a few bucks while the price I pay for writing a book is hundreds of hours of my time and a savage pummeling of my brain. During the “show” I get unsatisfying looks at the work in progress. A paragraph here. A screenshot there. (And those are not even close to as titillating as a scantily clad person.)

As time goes on, the view improves, or, at least with some projects, becomes clearer. (Sometimes, progress and results don’t quite live up to expectations, which means some course correction is in order.) For a book, the page proofs begin to expose what the final book will really look like. When I see the cover art from the graphics folks, I begin to get excited. One reason: the cover of Your Project Management Coach is awesome. Great job by the graphics team! Another reason is that cover art means the book (and my torment) is almost over.

One day, I head out to my driveway and find a box sitting on the steps. UPS. From Wiley. Aha! My copies of the book have arrived. I rip open the cardboard box, ruffle through the packing material, and extract a copy. Finally, the book version of the full monty! I feel a jolt of excitement. I turn the book this way and that to appreciate the view from all angles. I flip through the pages. Fifteen seconds have passed. And then, as quickly as it appeared, the exhilaration goes away. I stow the box of books, put a copy on the book shelf with the twenty-some other books I’ve written, and trudge back to my computer to get on with the next thing.

That isn’t the end of the story–or the project. We learned some lessons, which we will explore in future posts. Oh yeah, and we deposited the final advance checks to wrap up the pesky financial details. This project delivered a product, the printed book. Like other product-oriented projects, the final product triggered a hand off from Teresa and me to…Teresa and me. We went from book writing to marketing, a new project. This blog is one aspect of that new project.

If this book is like others, from time to time, emails with questions will come in from readers. I might get the satisfaction of hearing how much they like the book. I get to answer whatever question is on the table and enjoy the feeling of helping someone, which is a fulfilling reminder of the goal of the book project that began so long ago.

Read more about aspects of project management in Your Project Management Coach. Chapter 2 is “Getting to Know Project Management.” Chapter 19 is “Getting a Plan Back on Track.” Chapter 20 is “Obtaining Acceptance and Other Wrap-Up Tasks.” Chapter 22 is “Don’t Forget Lessons Learned.”

Talk back: How do you acknowledge the completion of a project? What’s your reaction when you realize that the finished project has launched a new one?

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Responses

  1. So true about the exhilaration passing. The new thing becomes the old norm. Insightful post.

    • So true, Bonnie. But while a start of a project is akin go a peep show, nothing can compare to the feeling of satisfaction you get upon completing a project. And though you’ll move on to new projects and learn from each, each completion is still a confidence builder and proof that you’re capable of getting better and better. Great blog. Congratulations.

  2. It seems that each time I read a book I have written I am surprised… pleasantly surprised…and learn something new about what inspired me to write what I did in the first place…about what compels me to write…and about what remains to be said…the exhilaration does not pass when I look at the completed work as an important leg of a longer journey…an exciting journey…

  3. Having a book published is a like having children. We prepare all those months for the big event, and when it comes, we are excited and thrilled to reach the culmination so we can cuddle those little ones and show them off to the world. Once we’ve introduced that new “child” or book, then we begin to look forward to adding siblings (or new books), nurturing and preparing for the big event all over again. I have three children, but I’m on my fifth book, slated to be published at the end of this month. There are many ups and downs throughout the process, but I look forward to adding many more books to “my family” to join those already on my shelves.

    • As you can see from the image of my bookshelf, my book family has grown quite a bit since my first book came out in 1999. I never expected to actually fill a bookshelf with my own books. What I look forward to now is seeing my first novel push my bibliography to an even two dozen. ~Bonnie


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