Never give up as a project manager…

My motto is Passion, Persistence and Patience. I define myself as an enthusiastic professional, I never achieved great results the first time I tried something, and I always need to use my patience managing projects. Over the years I learned that persistence is a soft skill that needs to be developed to be complete as a project manager. You always have a chance to contribute to your project team and help them to succeed if they cultivate a spirit of persistence.

Everybody make mistakes but everybody needs to be ready to learn from those mistakes in order to be more effective and efficient. During my professional life as a project manager I have had many opportunities to use and develop my persistence not only managing customer projects but also personal ones. Many people give up so early; I mean the first or the second time they fail. I always spend some time with my team members explaining to them the importance of never giving up. If you fail, and fail again, probably you need to find out other way, or ask somebody for help but never give up.

My understanding about persistence is:

  1. Giving all that you have, not more than you have: Some project managers who lack persistence do so because they mistakenly believe that being persistent demands from them more than they have to offer. As a result they don’t push themselves. However being persistent requires that you give 100 percent, not more but not less. If you give your all, you afford yourself every opportunity possible for success.


  1. Working with determination, not waiting on destiny: Persistent project managers don’t rely on luck, fate, or destiny for their project success. And when conditions become difficult, they keep working. They know that trying times are no time to quit trying. And that’s what makes the difference. In some occasions I failed more than three times organizing a professional event on project management, but I tried to discover my previous mistakes, I found them, tried again and I was successful the fourth time.


  1. Quitting when the job is done, not when you are tired: Success is a little like wrestling a bear. You don’t quit when you are tired, you quit when the bear is tired. If you want your team to succeed, you have to keep pushing beyond what you think you can do and find out what you are really capable of. Sometimes success comes beyond the point when they are convinced their idea is not going to work. Persistence hangs on until the job is finished.


How persistent are you? when others have given up, do you keep hanging on? If it’s the bottom of the ninth inning and there are two outs, have you already lost the game mentally, or are you ready to rally the team to victory? If the team has not found a solution to a problem, are you willing to keep plugging away to the very end in order to succeed? If you sometimes give up before the rest of the team does, you may need a strong dose of persistence.

Improve your Persistence

Work harder and/or smarter: If you tend to be a clock-watcher who never works beyond quitting time no matter what, then you need to change your habits. Put in an additional sixty to ninety minutes of work every day by arriving at work thirty to forty-five minutes early and staying an equal amount of time after your normal hours. If you are someone who already puts in an inordinate number of hours, then spend more time planning to make your working hours more efficient.

Stand for something: To succeed, you must act with absolute integrity. However, if you can add to that the power of purpose, you will possess an additional edge. Write on an index card how your day-to-day work relates to your overall purpose. Then review that card daily to keep your emotional fires burning.

Make your work a game: Nothing feeds persistence like our natural competitive nature. Try to harness that by making your work a game. Find others in your organization which has similar goals and create a friendly competition with them to motivate you and them.

Some best practices are as follows:

  1. Develop a clear vision
  2. Define your objectives
  3. Make a plan
  4. Take action and fail
  5. Learn from your failures
  6. Try it again and again…
  7. Never give up

I believe today is a good day to start to develop or increase your persistence. Be focused on your blessings every day and move forward.

Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI Fellow

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