Unpopular Opinion

Being able to take direction, give direction and follow up both on the directions you give and are given is an essential skill for anyone doing pretty much anything that involves groups of people, a project, and a goal of taking the project and the people involved to a place where all efforts are rewarded with the successful feeling of accomplishment. Most projects have a leader(s) but often times there is a fluidity of roles as the key people switch back and forth between giving and taking direction. There is no room for ego in the modern project management equation. There has to be a co-ordination between the project participants and a mutually agreed upon set of shared values that revolve around the purpose and intent of the project.

Musicians need organizational/managerial skills. Before this can happen musicians must learn to be great diplomats capable of handling a wide spectrum of personality types. They must be confident and disissive in their leadership, but also humble enough to listen to the ideas of other team members and admit when those ideas are better. A great leader possesses many of these positive qualities which in turn bolsters their leadership abilities by the fact that they garner respect from the people they work with.

Successful musicians are extremely diligent and have a clear picture of what project management phase they are in at all times. The 5 phases of project management are:

1. Initiation – Project is conceived and ideas are flushed out.
2. Planning – Most important step. All details of the project get considered here as a plan is formulated.
3. Execution – Project begins (better hope the idea and plan is solid).
4. Control – Overseeing the execution of the project ensuring everything is running smoothly. This is the quality control department of your organization.
5. Closure – After the project is completed a ton of things are needed to be done to wrap things up. This is the number one place musicians drop the ball.

A band, for example, may do everything right when planning and executing a live performance event. But forgetting to send thank you emails to the fans that attended, or forgetting to pay the sound and lighting guy, or to follow up with the booking agent or club owner are all common things that get missed because the band’s heads are still in the clouds from the rush of performing live. Big mistake. Once you walk off the stage the closure phase begins with you shaking hands and thanking the audience who attended. The next morning should also be spent wrapping things up and closing the project down in a way that leaves no loose ends.

It makes the life of the musicians easier as well as everyone they work with when the 5 phases of project management are properly implemented. Projects themselves also have a tendency to be more successful and run much smoother when these phases are considered. Admittedly my approach to running projects (mostly producing albums, EPs and singles) has improved greatly (and things have become much less of a headache) since I got hip to these 5 phases of project management.

Good luck with all of your projects people :)

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