“This is a high visibility project”, said my colleague. He was guiding me through a presentation in PowerPoint. While he talked, he was flipping between two pages with block diagrams. One of the block diagrams showed the entire applications rolled out by the customer while the other showed the governance structure of the project. He followed the above statement with a question. “Do you know why?”. I waited expectantly for him to unravel the mystery. “Since this is a strategic application, this guy has special interest in this project”. The flipping had stopped and I was staring at the organization chart. He had pointed to a block which indicated the position of this person in the governance hierarchy. There were none above "this person. So, this person was someone really important!
My colleague may have been speaking without any malice. But this conversation reminded me of my plight a few years back. During that turbulent period, I was involved in a very stressful “high visibility project”. The words “high visibility” were repeated in almost every meeting. The result was that I felt guilty. I may not displaying seriousness in the job that these people have to repeatedly hammer the “high visibility” nature into my head. I suspected my body language was betraying me. So, I worked on it. I tried everything in the book to alter my body language to display seriousness. Soon, I was left with only one option to be tried out. Salivate like a dog when these words were mentioned. The idea did cross my mind. If these were said to me for another couple of instances, I would have salivated too! I desperately wanted these words to go away!
Like all bad times, this also went away and life returned to normal. During those stressful days, a colleague, who I admire for his cool-as-cucumber attitude to this day, made an interesting remark. “High visibility project”, he smirked. “Show me one project which is not high visibility. All of them are under direct scrutiny of somebody of high importance one way or the other!”. He said it so casually. Yet the message was clear.
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