Mini Bites for Orphans

The project was a combination of two individual ideas put forward by the team members. It consisted of the direct offering of cookies in the aim of collecting donations and using the collected money to sponsor our own art event for Al Sanabel Orphan children at one of Bahrain art centers. The team has made it on purpose to take advantage of its flexibility to offer the cookies in different areas of the country. That helped us more than if we would have sat on a kiosk trying to do the same.

While planning the project we ensured to set clear and SMART objectives for our project that could help us assess the success and progress of our work. The project was named successful given that we were able to meet the pre-set objectives of:

  • Collect a total donation of 700 BHD: The team was able to actually collect the sum of 1084 BHD since people were receptive to our idea. Part of the money was used to cover the cost incurred by the project and a total of 703 BHD was donated in cash to the charity organization.
  • Achieve the total of 400 likes on social media: After we finished the event we sent out a thank you message for the donors and the charity organization. Using our personal social media accounts that message was delivered to more than 16000 person and we got 644 like in return (engagement of 3.95%)
  • Organize the art event on time: In fact the art event was organized on time. Children had the chance to see the mad scientist, do the foam mosaic as well enjoy dinner and takeaway gifts.


Advice for future teams doing similar projects:

  • Ensure that the number of cookies offered for donation is explored at full capacity. We believe that if we took the risk of ordering more cookies we could have collected double the donations and doubled the kids joy.
  • Set a formal communication plan since effective communication is an essential key in project success.
  • Always have a backup plan (contingency plan) as you never know what might occur during the project’s life.
  • Documentation is a key. Have everything documented from the initiation till the closure of the project to ensure staying on track.
  • Due to the short notice of the invitation, not everyone will respond positively henceforth, try to broaden your targeted number of invitees.


Two or three lessons learned about managing projects:

  • Planning: Planning took the biggest part of the project. The event by itself needed two hours to be completed but meetings, discussions, planning; scheduling and follow up took almost two weeks of time.
  • Team management: The major part of the project manager is to ensure that people are given meaningful work. This is essential in order to keep people motivated as well to ensure fairness among team members. In addition the project manager should always listen to his team members ideas. This is essential especially in big teams, it might sound time consuming, but it can only add value to the project and encourage people to be more engaged.
  • Be ready for the unexpected: Make sure you draft the risk assessment plan as early as possible and ensure its revision before the big day. Things like kids fighting can really happen and risk your project if you are not ready to handle them.


Shall you also want to donate to Al Sanabel Orphanage please go to

What Successful Project Managers Do

Workers arriving late, customers changing their orders and the bankruptcy of a key vendor are examples of events that might occur almost on a daily basis. The key challenge of every successful project manager is coping with the above frequent and unexpected events.

A study employing more than 150 successful project managers from more than 20 organizations revealed that the success of a project manager today is based on combining the traditional approach, which emphasizes that the success of any project requires stability, and the agile approach, which emphasizes that the success of any project requires massive flexibility during the project’s life.

A recent research indicated that, Develop collaboration, Integrate planning and review with learning, Prevent major disruptions and Maintaining forward momentum are the main four roles that would help successful project managers cope with unexpected events.

First, developing collaboration is essential for both: the early detection of difficulties and the quick development and smooth implementation of solutions. The level of collaboration amongst team members is the primary factor that can distinguish the successful mission from the failed missions. Second, Integrate planning and review with learning. Successful project managers tend to develop detailed short-term plans and tentative long-term plans once they realise that their organisation’s commitments cannot be met. They do not limit the learning process to the learning phase only but also use it during the project review phase. Third, prevent major disruptions. Even in calm situations, project managers never stop expecting unpleasant surprises hence; they are always anticipating disruptions and retaining the flexibility to react positively and immediately since it is easier to tackle a threat before it expands. Forth, maintain forward momentum. When unexpected events hit a specific task, all other tasks that are dependent will instantly get impacted.

Another research was conducted with a group of 20 project managers that focused on “how best to cope with unexpected events”. It was observed that most of the managers retained three complementary practices: “hand-on engagement, frequent face-to-face communication and frequent moving about”.

Projects with traditional management approach are intention-driven, while projects with agile management approach are event-driven. Nowadays, successful project managers must be both intention-driven and event-driven. They should be “people-oriented” when developing collaboration, “information-oriented” when integrating planning, “action-oriented” when preventing major disruption and at last, they should adopt all the three above mentioned orientations when maintain forward momentum.

In today’s dynamic environment, unexpected events will eventually occur at anytime during the life of the project however; a successful project manager has to be flexible and work toward minimizing the frequency and negative impact of such events. The project manager needs to respond quickly and effectively as soon as the problem has been acknowledge.

The article highlighted four of the most important roles that a successful manager must practice and implement while dealing with these events. I believe that the importance of the above roles varies from one project to another depending on the nature of the project as well as the capability of its team members.