A successful project manager is always ‘in sync’:

A short analogy between project management and music.

15 July 2020
By : George Buitrago

Being a musician has helped me a lot as a project manager at PM3. And being a project manager has also helped me to become a better musician. Sounds weird? Maybe. But, in my experience, both professions have lots in common: they both need different players, working together in synchrony to create sweet music. Let me explain it to you…

The mapping process:

When we talk about mapping, we aren’t just talking about a project’s traceability or using GPS to see how to go from point A to point B. In music, mapping also refers to the unification of different processes and actions with a simple power node move. If we take a more familiar example: it takes an orchestra director one hand gesture to unify what many instruments have to do to accomplish a common project: playing the song.

So although there is a method to the project management steps you need to take to complete any task, there is also art to project management.

How you structure a myriad of actions to accomplish one melodic objective varies from person to person. The thing is that everyone knows the methodology but they also have their own style and bring their own unique set of project management skills. The beauty of playing in a band is that anything can happen while you are playing. You have to make decisions, adapt, and correct in real-time. One way of making it much easier on everyone is to have a clear plan and a deep understanding of the process followed by each member of a team.




In order to know when a collaborator has to jump in or out of a project, I started to develop a marking mechanism for emails and tasks. Just like in music, I had to mark when someone had to take part in the whole composition. Marking didn’t only help me to determine when things should happen but who is in charge of making it happen: which person or which area is accountable for the job. This made my work less complicated because, in project management, the amount of information to handle and constant requests from creative, accounts, and executives can easily be too much if you don’t organize yourself.

I’m glad I’ve been able to perfect my marking process because it has helped me on stage and in the office. Marking allows me to manage clusters of information and look at them as units of a whole that need to be taken care of in order. That’s because order and unification are critical in both project management as in music.

Order and unity are vital,
but you still need other things

In project management you can’t only rely on planning and establishing objectives.

Those essential parts of your job won’t work if the participants of your team/band don’t get along with you or their partners. I have learned with time that the project manager has to work towards generating good human relations between all the parts in a project. Thankfully, based on a policy of respect and understanding, that’s something we can all accomplish. When you have different people who care for each other, it’s easier to rally them so we can achieve a goal together. And when that happens, well it’s like music to your ears… oh and it’s also mapping.

All of this helps improve processes and helps a project manager become a lean project manager. When you keep a close eye on every step of the process, you can identify opportunities so that the band can play better together, which at the end of the day results in the delivery of the best product possible to your audiences.

Final chords


  • Always check the tools and assets you and your team/band will be using to accomplish a project.
  • Make a daily mental note to remind of the pending tasks on the project you are managing.
  • Determine priorities: this will help you and the team identify how to best assign assets to make the best use of time.
  • Keep an eye on the team’s behavior: understanding personal feelings or particular situations will help you approach your partners in the best way possible.
  • Keep clear track of your inputs and outputs.
  • Always have a positive attitude in front of your team with excellent communication.
  • Channeling information is essential if you want to maintain order in your projects.


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