Recently I was watching an episode on HGTV–Home and Garden TV–in which a couple was renovating and redecorating a patio area of their home.  They wanted to place some three foot high planters with flowers at different locations on the patio perimeter for privacy and for decoration. 

The HGTV consultant they were using suggested that they fill the planters with empty plastic water bottles to a certain height and then fill the remainder with dirt to adequately cover the plant roots and provide the irrigation needed.  Why?  The explanation was that the planters would be much easier to move around on the patio for different settings since the plastic water bottles, as opposed to soil, would make them not weigh as much. 

Now, this insight on the part of the HGTV consultant was very valuable to the homeowner.  It had been derived from the consultant’s experience gained in other such patio decorating, and made possible from collaborating with other consultants who worked in this field.

Sometimes “finesse” is what is needed in a project–rather than brute-force implementation.  In the case of the patio, the “finesse” of using a proven technique for the planters that would allow the homeowners be able to move them in the future was insightful, productive, and yet easy to implement.

How many times have you, as a project manager, examined your potential actions to decide if “finesse” could be used rather than “brute force?”  How many times have you collaborated with other project managers to describe a situation that you are facing that might be leveraged by “finesse” rather than by your own blind experience?

As Project Managers, we must look for “finesse” in everything we do.  It pays dividends in little ways.

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